Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Life of Davy McCall:"Don't be afraid to take chances."

Born and raised outside of Cleveland Ohio, Mr. McCall's life and legacy now stretches around the world. After completing his undergraduate studies at Kenyon College, and during the completion of his PhD at Harvard, Davy's service during the Second World War took him from the Philippines to Japan as part of the Allied Translator Interrupter Service. Working for the US Economic Aid Program and the World Bank after his service ended, he also traveled to (and lived in) places like Morocco, Spain, Yugoslavia, Cambodia, and Syria.  Fluent in both French and Chinese, Mr. McCall found work in several government sectors, international business as well as higher education. In recounting his life, Mr. McCall provides a vivid and fascinating account of crucial world events during the past century. His story is one that cannot be forgotten!

Almost as if it happened yesterday, McCall remembers the infamous day Pearl Harbor was attacked, sending him into service with the Army. Having learned French at a very young age, he was tracked to work with the Allied Translator Interpreter Service, and was sent from his original position as a medic in training to the islands of the Philippines. Having been taught Chinese through studies at Harvard, the Army intended to use his language skills as part of the impending invasion of Japan. Yet with the surrender of Japan, McCall was tasked with a great many other obligations which allowed him to travel the country and experience the devastation which had befallen our former enemies. In one specific account, McCall recalls trading a Japanese civilian layers of clothing for Japanese treasures which he would later bring back to the US. 

His expertise in economics and language brought him to work with the US Economic Aid Program, where he traveled the world as an Economist. This eventually brought him to living and working in Morocco, assisting closely in several economic development endeavors. After tension and instability irrupted, McCall safely left the country for work in Spain and what was then Yugoslavia, working as a loan officer. Once this work was finished, McCall found himself working on loan programs in Syria, living in Damascus for over four years. 

After retiring from work in the government, McCall came to teach economics at Washington College, where he eventually became the first curator of the Cater Society for Junior Fellows. The Society, much like McCall's own life, allows students to travel the world, interact with highly influential and important public figures, and to grow and develop themselves through expansion of their intellectual horizons. 

In providing some parting words to us, Mr. McCall told us to "not be afraid to gamble on something, but assess it carefully." After hearing Mr. McCall's life story, I am certain to take those words to heart. If Davy decided not to seize all the amazing opportunities that presented themselves, it could have been quite possible that Ohio would have been the extent of his travels. Instead, Davy McCall built a successful career which took him around the world, involved him in crucial service to his country, and allowed him to accomplish substantive and beneficial projects in several nations. In the end, after hearing Mr. McCall's story, it would be a tragedy not to heed to his advice.

Listen to his interview here!

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