McCallum, G. A. (Bill) (1913-1987)

McCallum, G. A. (Bill) (1913-1987)

Date Updated




Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

Stanford University, 1940 Ph.D.

Stanford University, 1935 BA

Teaching Experience

San Jose State University

Administrative and Professional Experience

Consultant to The Chancellor of The California State Universities

Selected Publications

Key to the Trees of California

Personal Commentary

Personal Commentary (by his adoring widow):

Aside from his enthusiasm for nature study and genetics, Bill's great love At SJSU was for his students. He began immediately advising a class in all its activities from freshman year to commencement. He was counselor at Freshman Camp, held at Asilomar. He was devoted to his students and they to him. He began as camp cook for The West Coast School of Nature Study and became the head of the organization for several years. Some of the students liked the Death Valley experience so much that they became "Repeaters" the next spring. When they wished to become "Repeat­Repeaters," they asked "Doc" to lead them on new adventures without pay, and he gladly did so. He took part also in the three weeks of summer Field School.

He teased the students in his classes, and they teased him. They took pictures of his own garden with the sprinklers wetting the driveway, put them in his classroom, and quoted him "Cement doesn't grow."

During the war years, he taught everything from physics to physiology and watched the student body become overwhelmingly female. Following the war, however, he noticed how much more determined to achieve his returning male students had become. He welcomed them back. It was good to chaperon dances with a full complement of men. He chaperoned sorority dances also and was the official Chi Omega Dad and Santa Claus. The McCallums named the Faculty Dance Club The Dorians, because the Dorians were the ruling class of Sparta.

In 1960 he took two years off to work on planning a Faculty Senate for the Chancellor of the California State Universities. He moved to Inglewood and interviewed faculty in every state university, evolving a splendid format. Returning to SJSU, he became the first president of that Faculty Senate and resumed the chairmanship of the Biology Department.

On his first sabbatical, he studied the newest developments in genetics under Dr. George Beadle at Cal Tech. On his second sabbatical, he studied the forests of California and wrote A Key to the Trees of California.

In 1964 he chaired the Presidential Selection Committee that chose Dr. Robert D. Clark, Vice President of The University of Oregon.

Date Completed: 12/96

Adapted from: Biographies of Retired Faculty San Jose State University 1997: A Project of the Emeritus Faculty Association of San Jose State University. San Jose, CA: The University, 1997.


McCallum, G. A. (Bill) (1913-1987)