Aidan Peterson – The Davidson community suffered a heartbreaking loss last year when one of our own was taken by cancer. Admired by many, as evidenced by his position as SGA president, Ben Callinder ‘16 was a prominent figure on campus. Many students speak of being deeply impacted by the announcement of his premature death in the early weeks of summer 2016. This year, several initiatives have sought to honor his memory and celebrate his contributions to the college.
Callinder was an active member in Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), and his death was an extremely devastating blow to the brothers of his fraternity. In the wake of his death, members of SAE came together to create a way to honor their late brother. They spent the fall semester tossing around ideas until the prospect of helping the Prep for Prep organization came to mind.
Prep for Prep identifies promising students of color who come from low income situations and prepares them for placement into independent schools in New York City and boarding schools throughout the Northeast. The organization does not require tuition payment for those who are program participants. Instead, Prep for Prep relies solely on generous donations in order to prepare their students for success.
Callinder, who benefitted personally from the program as a Prep for Prep student, was committed to seeing students like himself from Queens, New York succeed in high-level environments, such as Deerfield Academy in Connecticut, where he attended high school.
It did not take much convincing for the brothers of SAE to decide that this was the way to best honor their late brother. The fraternity decided that it would provide Prep for Prep with a scholarship in honor of Callinder.
The “Ben Callinder Scholarship” will be a $50,000 scholarship that includes a ten-year sponsorship for a student with services from the Talent Search through to college graduation. This includes all five components of the Prep for Prep program as described on its website: Talent Search; Preparatory Component (including Secondary School placement); Post-Placement Counseling & Activities; Leadership Development; and Undergraduate Affairs & Professional Advancement.
$50,000 is an ambitious fundraising goal for any fraternity, especially for one that comes from such a small student body like Davidson. Outside donations will not fulfill the sum, so SAE will be hosting events to help fund Callinder’s scholarship.
A few weeks ago, SAE held its annual Block Party Basketball Tournament. In the past, this event has benefited numerous organizations in and around Davidson, but this year it seemed fitting for the members of SAE to use all proceeds to help fund Callinder’s scholarship. The tournament draws in a large amount of students, hoping to prove their basketball skills in self-organized teams. Members of the Davidson men’s and women’s basketball teams also participated, happy to lend their skills to such a noble cause.
As they are hoping to honor their brother in another way, SAE is hosting a 5K race to support the scholarship. Aptly named the “Friends of Ben 5K,” the race will take place on Saturday, April 8. All proceeds from the race will go to the “Ben Callinder Scholarship.”
Just as the Davidson community has been touched by Callinder’s presence, his scholarship will hopefully inspire a student in the Prep for Prep program to achieve similar levels of success and commitment. Anyone interested in donating to the fund can contact SAE’s service chairs, Grant Koehl ‘19 and Noah Constantine ‘19.