A scholar and a gentleman

Friday October 7 2011


Whether he's acting on stage, tutoring a classmate, or playing intramurals, Callom Harkrader '12 always keeps interactions with people his top priority.

That's one of the many reasons he was recently named the 2011-12 Sommerville Scholar, the highest academic award given by Lynchburg College in recognition of the culmination of a distinguished academic record.

Callom HarkraderA psychology major with minors in history and theatre, Callom has a cumulative GPA of 3.84 and has been on the Dean's List every semester. He has served as a PASS leader for psychology and as a tutor in history. And professors make note of his thirst for knowledge.

Dr. Robert White, professor of French, observed that Callom "goes far beyond only classroom application. How many students, for example, would possess the intellectual curiosity to be reading, as he now is, not for a class, a thick Dostoyevsky novel? For him, extended personal knowledge is self-motivated. He has always thought and studied beyond the requirements of our syllabi... It strikes me that few college students are graduated with degrees in three different fields. When did he find the time for all he has accomplished, both in and out of the classroom?"

"I've tried not to waste any time at LC," Callom said with a smile, but added modestly, "I know so many people who are smarter than I am and have higher GPAs. It's humbling to win this award. I'm definitely proud to be part of this class."

He is the last of his four siblings to attend Lynchburg College and he is going out with a bang. LC has Mary Hannah Harkrader Johnson '07 to thank for bringing her three brothers, including Clyde Jr. '09 and Nathan '11, to LC. Mary Hannah majored in music and loved her experience singing for Dr. Jong Kim. "We all started coming to see her perform," Callom said. "All of us ended up falling in love with LC."

Callom hails from Mineral, Va., the epicenter of an Aug. 23 earthquake that impacted much of the East Coast. Callom's home church, Gilboa Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), was destroyed in the quake. "It was quite shaking psychologically," he said.

Callom has served as president of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and been a member of the Student Judicial Board and served for the past two years. His leadership was recognized by his inclusion in Omicron Delta Kappa, the Leadership Honors Society.

He has participated in five theatrical performances on campus and one at Sweet Briar College. Most recently he performed in Babes in Arms, a co-production by LC and the Academy of Fine Arts in downtown Lynchburg.

He is also an avid amateur athlete, participating in intramural soccer, volleyball, flag football, tennis, and even wiffleball.

He has traveled to Romania five times as a member of the Virginia Baptist Mission Board, serving as a co-leader of teams that worked with Romanian children through the nonprofit organization Project Ruth. This was not the usual study abroad experience -living on the local economy, Callom lost thirty pounds during his first trip.

His peers have recognized his scholarship by inviting him to membership in academic honor societies, including the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi; Psi Chi, the International Psychology Honors Society; Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Society; Phi Alpha Theta, the International History Honor Society; and Phi Eta Sigma, the national Freshman Honor Society. He also earned a Junior Ring Award for Academic Achievement.

Callom has his sights on Oxford University, either a one-year certificate program in Christian apologetics or Oxford's social work program. He's also interested in animal-assisted therapy. "I have so many different interests," he admits.

But then, what do you expect from a guy whose two favorite movies are Lord of the Rings and Sense and Sensibility?