I was recently reminded of the presence Dr. Charles A. “Scotty” McCallum, Jr. commanded during Alumni Weekend. Just his presence was a reassurance that we were doing well and our dental school is the best.

""Many of you invited him to attend your reunions and I know he made it to many. The past several years Dr. McCallum attended and spoke at our Medallion Luncheon for those who graduated fifty or more years ago. He always made remarks, not to steal the thunder of the current dean, but to lend his support and to share a few stories with the people he loved.

According to Dr. Leon Pappanastos (’57 and ’62) he was “one of the lucky ones who got to experience Scotty from the time he was a resident in Oral Surgery and I was a senior dental student. I went on a trip with him and Alice to Florida, when he was my Chief in Oral Surgery training”. Of course, Dr. McCallum would go on to become Dean of the School of Dentistry. He and Dr. Pappanastos would continue to meet on visits when he was dean and then president of UAB. “Then when I would come to the February meeting, Dr. McCallum would host my wife and me for dinners at the Vestavia Country Club when he was Mayor and later when he had retired. I will always remember our times together”.

And from Dr. William L. Wingo, Jr. (’76)

I started Dental School in 1971 at UAB. I was married and had a one and a half year old son. It was difficult balancing marriage, parenting and school. I did ok the first year but I failed Neuroanatomy the last quarter along with four other guys. Dr. McCallum arranged for us to go immediately to the University of Virginia Medical School in Charlottesville to take the course over. Fortunately, I made an A in the course.

When I got back, I went to see Dr. McCallum and told him that I wasn’t sure if I was cut out for dentistry and was thinking about withdrawing. He said, “Don’t do that. Take this next year off, get a job and think it over. If you want to continue, just show up next fall with the sophomore class.”

I did exactly that. I got a job in a medical laboratory doing bench chemistries. I was very fortunate that the pathologist, Dr. Casey, kind of took me under his wing. He taught me so much about pathology, physiology, diagnosis and medicine in general. When fall came, I went back to Dental School. I remained on the Dean’s List for most of my remaining quarters and graduated in 1976.

I practiced dentistry for 40 years and like to think I treated and served many people well in my community. I had a great career and was very successful.

The bottom line is, I owe it all to Dr. Scotty McCallum. He recognized my doubts in myself but he also saw potential. I will always be grateful to this great man for giving me a second chance and allowing me to become part of the dental profession. Thank you, Dr. McCallum. May you rest in peace.