Society of Peabody Alumni
Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association Heritage Award
February 23, 2014
The Heritage Award honors alumni and friends of Johns Hopkins who have contributed outstanding service over an extended period to the progress of the university or the activities of the Alumni Association.
Textbooks often recognize the great achievements made at the forefront of an era as though they are synonymous with history. But it is the small, everyday actions of people like you, Audrey McCallum, that truly constitute history. As the first black student to attend the Peabody Preparatory in 1955, your significant achievement was not in the headlines. It nevertheless stands as a place marker to rapidly changing attitudes about education, music, and society.
You received a Senatorial Scholarship to attend the Peabody Conservatory, here in Baltimore, a city that, in many ways, was on the forefront of racial politics for many years. As such, you did not have the luxury of simply being good. In order to succeed, you needed to be outstanding. Not only did you earn the scholarship, but you kept it through your undergraduate degree while engaging in a hectic accompanying schedule and graduated third in your class.
You earned the bachelor of music and master of music degrees from the Conservatory, and transformed them into some thirty years of teaching in the Baltimore public school system, followed by more than twenty years of teaching at Morgan State University. You continue to maintain a very active musical life, teaching at the Nathan Carter School, and as organist for the Providence Baptist Church and their combined choir.
Throughout your life and to the current day you have also been an avid supporter of the Peabody Institute. Since 1997 you have been a member of the Society of Peabody Alumni’s Executive Committee. In this capacity you have focused on supporting student life, energetically interacting with current students at alumni events. From 2004-2010 you were a member of the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Council. Here you advocated for student activity funding and represented Peabody’s interests in the larger Johns Hopkins Community. It is not a stretch, by any means, to say that you have been working toward the betterment of the Peabody Institute, and by extension, The Johns Hopkins University, since high school.
Your small, everyday actions of determination, kindness, and optimism; and your ability to bring joy into every room you enter changed history, blessed Peabody, and brings honor to Johns Hopkins.
Audrey for all that you have contributed, we are honored to confer upon you the Johns Hopkins University Heritage Award.