Upon the start of his presidency, McCaffrey knew that he wanted to renovate the campus facilities to suit the high academic reputation of the university. In 1974, he pushed for the purchase of the Stockton College campus, a 42-acre property. The College of the Pacific expanded into the new campus, with facilities for chemistry, biology and education programs using the new buildings. The former college campus and its refurbished and repurposed buildings form Pacific’s south campus.

Beyond his goals for the physical campus, McCaffrey committed to improving student life on campus. McCaffrey named Judith Chambers, a pioneering expert in student life, as the first vice president of student life for Pacific. Chambers and McCaffrey utilized the student life department to open the Raney Recreation Center and support legendary Pacific Speech and Debate Coach Paul Winter. A new student center was renamed the McCaffrey University Center in 1987, after McCaffrey’s retirement.

With all these initiatives in motion, McCaffrey recognized the need for greater funding for the university. He reached out to local businesspeople, including Alex G. Spanos, and asked many community business leaders to serve on the Board of Regents. Alumni relations were improved through the start of phone call campaigns, an annual alumni awards program established in 1981, and by doubling the membership of the alumni board. McCaffrey also pushed for greater enrollment at Pacific. McCaffrey welcomed the largest ever entering class in 1974, a record that was broken the very next year. Pacific also achieved its peak enrollment in 1976 at 6,200 students, which was not surpassed until 2004.

Off-campus, McCaffrey was deeply involved in the Rotary Club. McCaffrey served as the president of Rotary International from 1981 to 1982, while on leave from his position as Pacific’s president. McCaffrey was recognized with the Dugoni Medallion of Distinction Award in 1987.

McCaffrey died on March 3, 2002.