From being the first generation in his family to attend college, to being friends with the President of the United States, Cecil Emmit McCall (’58) has experienced history first hand.
He attended North Greenville in 1958. His friend Don Rogers, who would later become a contributing writer to the Foxfire Series, referred him to NGC where McCall became a day student and commuted from his hometown of Pickens, SC. He is the youngest son of the late L.D. and Minnie McCall of Pickens, South Carolina.
While at NGC, two professors from the English department made a significant impact on his life: Dr. Flynn and Dean Howard. He remembers Dr. Flynn requiring long hours of research in the library, and that Dean Howard had a quick wit. Cecil aspired to become a writer and set out to accomplish his goals.
His career has taken all over the country as a speaker, fundraiser, writer, and consultant. While attending USC, he became a page for the South Carolina State Senate, where his love of politics blossomed. Upon graduation, the National Foundation of Infantile Mortalities, currently known as the March of Dimes foundations hired him as a speaker and fundraiser. He was quickly promoted within the organization and was initially transferred to Lexington, Kentucky, where his territory would become the 65 counties in and around the Lexington area. Within two weeks of moving to Kentucky, his secretary introduced him to Jean Patterson. At the time, Miss Patterson was the BSU director for Berea College. Jean would later become Mrs. Cecil McCall.
His career path continued with the March of Dimes in Atlanta, Georgia, where he was promoted to be the regional director. He had the opportunity to meet Jimmy Carter and they became good friends. Mr. McCall would often visit the Carter family in Plains, Georgia, and would later recruit Jimmy Carter to be the Chairman of the Georgia Chapter for The March of Dimes.
When Jimmy Carter ran for governor of the state of Georgia, he recruited Cecil McCall to write the fundraising manual for the campaign and later was asked to join the Carter administration. When Governor Carter decided to run for President of the United States, McCall was often asked to share his expertise. McCall would become good friends with Jody Powell, who would later become President Carter’s Press Secretary, and Hamilton Jordan, who would later become President Carter’s Chief of Staff.
Once elected, President Carter brought McCall to Washington and appointed him to serve on the U.S. Parole Commission for a six-year term. There he would handle such case as Watergate figures John Mitchell, John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman. While on the commission, he also handled the case of publishing heiress Patty Hearst.
While living in Washington, McCall was often invited to watch movies at the White House with the President and his family. One evening while watching a movie, President Carter received a phone call stating that the Panama Canal treaty had just been signed. McCall was able to witness the unfolding of many historical events in the course of our country.
Upon completing his six-year term, with the last two under the Reagan administration, he returned to Atlanta with wife and two children, Jada and Jason. There he began a consulting business that has taken him all over the country consulting business that has taken him all over the country consulting on federal cases. Mr. McCall is now semi-retired and has moved away from the hustle of Atlanta to Dayton, Tennessee, where he resides with his wife, Jean.
Photo: Cecil McCall, shown above (right) with his wife, their two children and President Jimmy Carter, had a distinguished public service career, including serving under Carter and Ronald Reagan.
Article printed in the Spring 2004 issue of the North Greenville College Alumni Newsletter.