Flying far from home

Meet the Class of 2020

By Jen Sobolewski

When Kelley McCallum started kindergarten in Alabama, her teacher informed the class on the first day of school that they were now “Auburn fans” and made sure every 5- and 6-year-old knew the words to the university’s fight song.

So, when it was time for McCallum to choose a college, her family was assuming they’d be making the trip to Auburn. Instead she shocked everyone by announcing she was headed north to Bowling Green State University. She will be a member of the Class of 2020.

While the family was surprised, they totally understood her decision. McCallum comes from a long line of Falcons. Her grandfather, grandmother, mother, father, aunt and uncle all went to BGSU and she has many fond memories from her frequent trips to campus.

“I’ve been coming here ever since I was born,” McCallum said. “We would go to football games and many basketball games and I even got to tour the new basketball arena while it was being built. I haven’t been to a hockey game yet, but I have got my jersey ready to go.”

“Our adventure-seeking daughter thought it would be more fun and exciting to be like a foreign exchange student and go to Ohio, break the mold and do something out of the ordinary, and we couldn’t be more proud,” said her mom, Sheila.

McCallum said what tipped her toward BGSU was the desire to go out of state and experience a bit of “northern culture.” 

“There’s a whole other world out there and I love the campus. It reminds me of a colder, snowier, windier Birmingham and I’m going to give it a shot. I’m very much looking forward to it.”

The cold did shock her a bit when she was on campus in February for her music audition. Her grandfather had to let her borrow a coat. “I'd forgotten how cold it gets,” she said. She is looking forward to going shopping for a new winter wardrobe, and at the top of the list is a coat worthy of Midwestern winters.

McCallum plays the flute and piccolo and plans to study psychology and minor in music, which is one of her passions.

“There’s a whole other world out there and I love the campus. It reminds me of a colder, snowier, windier Birmingham and I’m going to give it a shot. I’m very much looking forward to it.”“The music program has a wonderful reputation. When I went to my scholarship audition I just loved the inside of the building and the people in it. The flute professor (Conor Nelson) is fantastic and very encouraging and energetic. It was inspiring to have someone who could motivate me to play better. I really needed that.”

Although she’s sad to leave her friends and family behind, McCallum is excited about the adventures ahead. She is looking forward to becoming a member of the Greek system and joining a band or orchestra on campus.

“I can almost imagine what she’s going to experience and we’re very excited,” said Sheila McCallum. “Our fond memories of our time at Bowling Green fuel our anticipation of the fun that lies ahead for Kelley.

“If she had just picked a random university 10 hours away, where we didn’t have that foundation of family, or knowledge of the campus, the residence halls, Greek life, or even who has the best pizza in town, then we would be more anxious about her choice. But we’re completely at peace with this decision even though it’s so far away. I have a feeling I’m going to be visiting a lot more and getting my fill of Polleyes' breadsticks.”