Inspired to Lead

Since 2014, Clemson has been home to a first-in-the-nation program offering a Bachelor of Arts in women’s leadership. While other top universities offer a major in women’s and gender studies or a certificate program in leadership, Clemson’s program combines these in an interdisciplinary degree program designed to close the leadership gap for women.

The program recently received a major boost through a $500,000 gift from Georgia A. Callahan ’73, M ’77, with intentions of making additional contributions to achieve a $1 million investment over the next decade. The initial funds will be used to establish an endowed professorship and an unrestricted endowment for excellence. The endowments will bear the name of the donor, whose trailblazing career in government and business began here in Clemson.

After becoming the City of Clemson’s first community development director while in graduate school, Callahan spent the next dozen years working in the newly formed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in D.C., a job that resulted from her acceptance into Jimmy Carter’s Presidential Management Intern program. Over the next 24 years, she worked for Texaco in New York and Chevron in California.  During her tenure in the energy industry, she rose to the top, becoming one of a handful of women to achieve the rank of vice president. Her work focused on legislative and regulatory affairs, global policy and strategy, and environment and climate change. During her career, Callahan traveled to more than 100 countries across the world.

“Having Georgia Callahan as a benefactor and mentor has been invaluable,” said Diane Perpich, director of the women’s leadership program. “In fact, lessons from Callahan’s experience with program management were important in the development of our program.”

The students who benefit from these endowments will not have to look very far to see an exemplary role model of women’s leadership and accomplishment.


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