Commonwealth Professor of Education Carolyn M. Callahan described her colleagues and supporters as “the best crop of gifted adults I know” as she accepted the University of Virginia Women’s Center’s 2007 Elizabeth Zintl Leadership Award on Sept. 27. “I’ve had a wonderful life at the University,” she said.
If anyone knows who is gifted, it is Callahan. She has devoted her 33-year career to understanding and challenging children and youth who are “gifted and talented.”
Introducing her to the crowd in the Harrison/Small Auditorium, David Breneman, former dean of the Curry School of Education, described Callahan as “hardworking, committed, very smart, loyal, productive … and almost always right.”
Director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, Callahan has paid special attention to addressing the under-representation of minorities and the barriers facing young women in these programs, Breneman said. He also mentioned two programs she established at U.Va. for gifted students, the Summer Enrichment Program, an alternate version of camp that brings students to the Grounds, and its companion Saturday Enrichment Program, held during the school year.
In nominating her for the Zintl Award, Craig Littlepage, director of athletics, who also lauded Callahan. He said it wasn’t difficult to elicit support for her nomination and called her “one of this academy’s best.” Littlepage has come to know her well, he said, in her role
as faculty representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association and to the Atlantic Coast Conference, which she took on in 1997. He credited her thoughtful approach and compassion for student-athletes.
Callahan has served the University in other capacities as well, participating on dozens of committees, including the provost's Tenure and Review Committee, the Jefferson Scholar Selection Committee and the Women’s Leadership Council.
In her acceptance speech, Callahan said it was a humbling experience to win the award in light of the list of past winners, many of whom she was worked with in solving problems and celebrating the University. She also thanked the three education deans and other leaders for whom she has worked for letting her do what she wanted to do.
“Having a leader who supports you is incredibly important,” she said.
Callahan also mentioned the many teachers in middle and high schools who have enabled her to do her research with their students.
The U.Va. Women’s Center created the Zintl Award in memory of Elizabeth Zintl, who served as chief of staff in the president’s office until her death in 1997. Callahan noted that she, too, considered Zintl a role model for her dedication.
The award recognizes women at the University whose high degree of professionalism, creativity and commitment mirror Zintl’s.