In Memorium: Walter Mccallum


The ASCCC lost one of its former leaders when Walter Mccallum passed away on July 20, 2016

Mccallum was born in South Dakota on December 1, 1927 to parents whose highest level of education was eighth grade. At the urging of a high school teacher, he attended and graduated from UC Berkeley and later received his graduate degree in chemistry at Cornell University. After completing his studies, Mccallum took a position on a project in West Africa through US AID.  However, his desire was to teach at a community college to help first generation students like himself, and he would be hired by Sierra College to teach chemistry while living in West Africa. Maccallum claimed that he was the first and only faculty member at Sierra who was ever hired without a live interview.

At Sierra College, Mccallum developed a project to create an energy efficiency comprehensive approach to not only save money but to help save the planet, one of the first of its kind at an institution of higher education in California. He was also recruited into faculty leadership positions and served as local academic senate president.  He would later elected to the ASCCC Executive Committee and served as president of the ASCCC from 1975 to 1976.

Among Mccallum’s accomplishments as ASCCC president were initiatives regarding accreditation and part-time faculty. Mccallum wanted to ensure that accreditation had a more comprehensive approach around quality and student success and insisted that an accreditation visiting team without faculty was not acceptable. He also helped to focus the Academic Senate on part-time faculty issues regarding quality and equity, for which he was later recognized by the California Assembly.

After his senate presidency, Mccallum returned to Sierra College and served for a time as an administrator, but eventually his love of teaching led him back to the classroom.  He later retired and lived in Provence, France.  He is survived by two children, Joy Mccallum Thym of Reno and Patrick Mccallum of Sacramento.

Mccallum passed on his legacy of faculty leadership and community college activism to his son Patrick, who would become executive director of the Faculty Association for California Community Colleges and in that position helped to negotiate key provisions in AB 1725 (1988) that gave academic senates the powers they have today. Patrick now runs a community college lobbying firm and a national higher education consulting firm. He is donating and collecting contributions to create the Walter Mccallum science room at Sierra College. For more information on making a contribution, contact Patrick at (916) 446-5058 or email him at Patrick [at] (Patrick[at]mccallumgroupinc[dot]com).