That was alumnus Justin Outling’s assessment, as he spoke at Vice Chancellor Callahan’s Retirement reception in a filled Cone Ballroom last Wednesday. And the observation rang as true as the university bell.
SGA president Holly Shields noted that she has made “a culture of care.” Jill Beville remarked on her spirit, and Tim Johnson noted that she is always there for the students and others: her presence is so meaningful.
Dean of Students Brett Carter, serving as host for the proceedings, introduced more well-wishers from all parts of the university. Dean Celia Hooper noted that “you’ll find her whenever help is needed.” Kelly McKee, president of the Junior League (of which Callahan was once president), spoke of her service.
Provost Dunn noted the impact she has had through so many lives touched each year, for 38 years in Student Affairs. “It’s beyond measure,” she said.
Husband Mike Callahan – they met in a UNCG health class in 1967 and were student workers in Elliott Hall – spoke about the great leaders throughout the university who’d inspired them. “We learned how to care for people and how to love this university.”
Her daughters, Megan and Kathleen, spoke of their mother, including her sacrifices in order to serve the students for nearly four decades.
Finally, Dr. Callahan addressed the crowd of well-wishers. “It means a lot to know you’d come out and hear all this stuff up here.” She was too modest: That “stuff” included a presentation of the state’s highest honor: the Order of the Longleaf Pine.
She will be in her office through the 19th, she noted, but having the event before exams allowed students to attend. And there were many.
And they not only represented our campus’ present and future, also its heritage as well. Twenty university marshals, with their traditional gold sashes, greeted guests. The student Spartones ended the tribute by singing the Alma Mater.
“We raise our voices; let them swell
In a chorus loud and strong;
The rolling hills send back the sound
Of our triumphant song …”
By Mike Harris
Photos by Martin W. Kane. Top, Callahan with students; middle, Callahan listens with family members to remarks; bottom with mother-in-law Pat Brody