At yesterday evening's Distinguished Lecture event, President Barbara R. Snyder announced a $1.25 million leadership gift from the Callahan family to endow the university's annual Distinguished Lecture in honor of Francis Joseph Callahan Jr.
"We believe that naming the Distinguished Lecture in honor of my father is a fitting way to pay tribute the legacy of Joe Callahan—a man dedicated to distinction in all he does," said Cornelia Callahan Richards, Callahan's daughter and co-trustee of the Callahan Family Foundation.
Joe Callahan is chairman emeritus of Swagelok, a leading fluid system manufacturer headquartered in Solon, Ohio. After graduating from the Naval Academy, serving as project officer on the world's first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus, and earning two engineering degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Joe Callahan began his Swagelok career in 1958 at what was then Crawford Fitting. Joe Callahan quickly rose to the top of the organization and instilled his overall philosophy of respect and quality service. He amassed 23 patents in his 40 years at the firm, and Swagelok companies grew to more than $1 billion in annual sales.
"Our father's business success was grounded in his belief that everything should be done 'first-class,'" said Timothy Callahan, son and co-trustee of the Callahan Family Foundation and a Case Western Reserve University trustee. "He has always said, 'Find the best people, give them everything they need to succeed and treat everyone with respect.'"
Joe Callahan also has given generously of his time and assets to the Northeast Ohio community. He has served on the boards of the Cleveland Clinic, Marymount Hospital, Cleveland Institute of Music and John Carroll University. In addition, he has made substantial leadership gifts to Case Western Reserve and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, among many others.
"The Distinguished Lecture brings to campus leading experts in their fields, people committed both to improving the world and enhancing our understanding of it," Case Western Reserve University President Barbara R. Snyder said. "Joe Callahan has set a similar standard in his professional and philanthropic contributions. We are gratified by this opportunity to name our distinguished lecture in his honor."
The Distinguished Lecture at Case Western Reserve University was established in 2005 to engage the university community in discussion of important topics of the time. A faculty committee annually selects speakers. Previous speakers include Jared Diamond, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who examines the influences that drive the rise and fall of cultures and societies; Kay Redfield Jamison, an international authority on mood disorders; and E.O. Wilson, a legendary biologist who is widely considered to be the father of the modern environmental movement.
Last evening's lecture, "Engineering and Civilization: Bridges, Infrastructure, and the Sources of Success and Failure," was delivered by Henry Petroski, the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of history at Duke University.