Callaway, theologian to speak during commencement weekend
May 16, 2011

Howard ‘Bo’ Callaway, the first Republican congressman from Georgia since 1875 and son of Cason and Virginia Callaway, will speak at LaGrange College’s commencement ceremonies May 21 on the Residential Quad. The baccalaureate address May 20 at First United Methodist Church will be delivered by Dr. William B. Lawrence, Dean and Professor of American Church History at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas.

Honorary degrees will be presented to Callaway and Lawrence during commencement.

Callaway was born in LaGrange, and attended public schools in LaGrange and Hamilton before graduating from a private high school in Virginia. He studied at Georgia Institute of Technology and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1949.

He served as a lieutenant in the United States Army, where he was a platoon leader in Korea and an instructor in tactics at Fort Benning.  After completing his military service in 1952, he came home to Georgia, where he helped his father develop and run Callaway Gardens.

In 1964, Callaway was elected to represent the 3rd Congressional District of Georgia in the United States Congress.  After his term, he returned to Callaway Gardens, and then served as the Chairman/President of Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado and as President/Chairman and CEO of Interfinancial Inc. in Atlanta for three years.

An appointment to Secretary of the Army in 1973 led to his being awarded the Medal of Distinguished Public Service by the Department of Defense.  In 1976, Callaway managed Gerald Ford’s presidential campaign. 

Callaway has been politically active throughout his career.  In 1966, he was the Republican nominee for governor of Georgia.  He was a candidate for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate from Colorado and Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.

Callaway currently serves as Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees for the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation.  He also served as Chairman, President and CEO, and has been a member of the board since 1958.

Other areas of service include seats on several boards of directors, including Trust Company of Georgia, Georgia Power Co., The Southern Co., SCI Systems Inc., United Bank of Denver, World Business Council, Chief Executive’s Organization and the CML Group.  He also served as the International President of the Young Presidents’ Organization. He was Vice President of the State of Georgia Chamber of Commerce from 1961 until 1964.  In July 2001, Callaway was appointed to the Board of the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism.  He is currently serving as Chairman of the Tourism Committee of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

He and his late wife, Beth, have five children and 16 grandchildren.

William Lawrence is Dean and Professor of American Church History at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology.

He assumed that position on Aug. 1, 2002, coming from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, where he was Associate Dean for Development and Church Relations. Previously he taught at Duke Divinity School and at Wesley Theological Seminary.

An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, he has held a number of pastoral assignments, most recently at Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church (the National United Methodist Church) in Washington, D.C.

Lawrence serves as SMU’s University Liaison to the United Methodist Church. He has served as a delegate to both jurisdictional and general conferences. In 2008, he was elected by the General Conference to serve as one of nine members of the church’s Judicial Council, the highest judicial body within the denomination.

He is a native of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and graduated with distinction from Duke University. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and received his doctorate with distinction in homiletics and historical theology from Drew University in Madison, N.J.

He is the author and editor of several books and numerous articles. His most recent publication is “Methodism in Recovery: Renewing Mission, Reclaiming History, Restoring Health” (Abingdon Press, 2008).

He and his wife, Naomi, have two childre and three grandchildren.

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