2008 Champions

Champions by Year

John McCall

John McCall

“There’s a certain amount of patience that comes with years…the realization that you can get things done if you keep working at it.”


In December of 2005, at age 78, John McCall saved a valued source of funding for Xavier University. When massive program cuts at local universities were considered inevitable after the storm and their very survival seemed uncertain, every source of funding–every dollar–was crucial. John left the safety of his evacuation base in Texas and ventured into the devastation of Xavier’s vacant campus, clambering up through five flights of debris and unlit hallways, rifling through cabinets to rescue a single file: an application for a grant proposal with a rapidly approaching deadline.

Considering the extraordinary actions of so many during this time, John’s journey might not seem especially heroic to some. But what makes John’s dedication so remarkable is that he didn’t have to do it. It wasn’t his job. John McCall was not a Xavier University employee. John is a volunteer.

John McCall redefines the meaning of volunteer. For John, volunteering requires devotion and commitment because it is not about simply lending a hand…it is about making our world a better place.

John has done much in his life to improve the quality of life for others. Within one month of his retirement as president of Knox College in Illinois, John and his wife joined the Peace Corps and conducted classes in Turkmenistan – a country struggling to rebuild its identity following the collapse of the Soviet Union. John McCall appreciates all that life has taught him and considers it his mission to share that wealth.

No one expected John McCall, a volunteer, to return to New Orleans and complete that grant proposal for Xavier. But with a commitment built on a lifetime of experience
overcoming challenges, John McCall expected nothing less of himself.

John McCall—Peoples Health Champion