D. Malcolm Maxwell came to the presidency of Pacific Union College in 1983 from Walla Walla College where he had been that institution's vice president for academic administration.
The first P.U.C. alumnus to serve as the school's president, Maxwell, once on campus, quickly addressed, and in three or four years completely erased, a crisis of confidence in the institution that many had felt was almost certain to go into sharp decline. He became a great communicator, listening carefully to all, and recognizing the vital importance of timing and images. He had the knack of inspiring action while not provoking die-hard critics, implacably irritated by his successful leadership.
He erased the College's can't-do image by seeing to the construction of campus buildings that housed the chemistry, science and biology departments. As a trained theologian, he recast the religion department so that it was more closely aligned with mainstream Seventh-day Adventism.
At the close of his highly successful, eighteen-year presidency, Malcolm Maxwell was honored as had been no other of the school's leaders: the College Board named him President Emeritus of Pacific Union College.