Dr. Charles J. McClain
McClain has been called a higher-education legend in the state of Missouri. His presidency spanned nearly 20 years, from 1970 to 1989, and his vision and leadership helped Truman refocus its mission, transforming it into Missouri’s only highly selective, public liberal arts and sciences university.
While president, McClain established a value-added program to track the strengths and weaknesses of Truman students. As a result of his leadership, the University received national recognition for its academic excellence and assessment programs, including the G. Theodore Mitau Award for Innovation and Change in Higher Education, the highest award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. The University was also ranked one of the five most innovative colleges and universities in the country in a U.S. News & World Report survey of college and university presidents.
Over the years, McClain has remained a strong supporter of Truman. In the year following his retirement, the University’s administrative building was re-named in his honor. In 1999 he initiated a matching gift campaign to raise funds for the Pershing Scholarship program at Truman. Initiated under his presidency, the Pershing Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship awarded to incoming freshmen, providing tuition and room and board, as well as a $4,000 stipend for study abroad.McClain was honored by Truman in 2010 with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree. The Truman State University Board of Governors voted in 2009 to award honorary degrees to recognize individuals for outstanding achievement in a field and demonstrated commitment to the University’s mission and values.
Dr. McClain passed away April 9, 2015, in Columbia, Mo. Memorials may be made to the Charles J. McClain Scholarship.