Donor Profile: The Calloways
An oak tree in front of Knapp Hall on LSU’s campus honors a man who worked inside Knapp Hall for more than 40 years. William Calloway said he is extending the legacy of his grandfather Ruby Callaway, who graduated from LSU in 1912 and worked in dairy science on campus for 42 years.
William Calloway (the spelling of the last name was changed) and his wife, Alice Arsena Calloway, a 1992 graduate of the LSU College of Agriculture, are endowing one of LSU’s famed oak trees in Ruby Callaway’s name and are setting up scholarships for undergraduates and a fellowship for graduate students studying plant and soil systems.
“LSU has given our families so much, and now we want to give back,” said Alice Calloway.
William Calloway said his memories of his grandfather are mainly from when the elder Callaway was retired.
“He was very involved in 4-H after he retired and promoted 4-H and dairy to young people,” Calloway said of his grandfather.
But Calloway knows about his grandfather’s time at LSU. He has Ruby Callaway’s Lee Medal, which at the time was the highest academic honor awarded at graduation. He has his grandfather’s sheepskin diploma and well-worn photographs of his grandfather on campus.
Ruby Callaway brought the first Jersey cows to Louisiana while still a student, and he brought even more while working in dairy science.
“He also brought back cattle from the Isle of Jersey for 4-H kids to show,” Calloway said.
The younger Calloway showed Jersey cows as a youth with his cousins. His father operated a dairy selling all Jersey milk, but William didn’t continue the family’s dairy tradition and instead worked as an engineer before becoming a veterinarian.
He met Alice while she was studying horticulture at LSU. She said the College of Agriculture faculty, including Bill Richardson, now LSU Vice President for Agriculture and Dean of the College of Agriculture, invested time and effort in her. She said she remains grateful for that and wanted to invest in future students.
The Calloways said both of their gifts to the LSU AgCenter, the endowed oak and scholarships, are a natural fit with their family’s involvement in agriculture and LSU. But William Calloway said his grandfather would have mixed feelings about having an oak named for him.
“I think he would be honored to be remembered, but having lived through the Depression and two world wars, he would fuss at me about spending the money,” Calloway said.