Jim McCollum '11
Lifelong Learner, Devoted Brother
For many, earning a degree is a one-time achievement. For Jim McCollum ’56, it was the start of a lifelong pursuit of knowledge. At 83 years of age, he earned a bachelor’s in history from Southern Arkansas University. This complements his degree from Illinois in 1956 and his J.D. in 1962. After a successful law practice for 34 years in New York, Jim retired to the McCollum family farm near Emerson, Arkansas. “I was in second grade when they bombed Pearl Harbor and grew up with the propaganda,” Jim said regarding his history degree. “I just wanted the truth behind the whole thing.”
Jim grew up in Champaign and lived at home during college. He joined Alpha Delta Phi during his junior year and went to school with many Korean War veterans whom Jim admits knew how to “separate partying and studying much better than he and the other younger Brothers.” Townies were dissuaded from living in the house at the time so more space was available for those from farther away. “I really enjoyed the camaraderie and the interaction with the Brothers while I was there,” he shared.
While Jim is a student at Southern Arkansas, his wife, Betty, works as a professor in the religious studies department. He has taken four courses with her and can guarantee that she did not cut him much slack. Jim also has three children, two daughters and a son, who are all happy and successful in their fields.
Having served as president of the International Board of Governors for one year and the board for many years, Jim has shown his dedication to the fraternity. While practicing law, he was very involved with the Rochester Chapter during the ’70s and ’80s, including being their adviser. The Rochester Chapter, to thank him for his service, initiated Jim—he is now a Brother recognized in two chapters.
Often thinking of the chapter, Jim remembers when the fraternity sold off a portion of the property on the west, and he wishes the chapter could make a deal with new apartment developers to set aside rooms for undergraduate Brothers. Although he has not been to Homecoming in many years, Jim is looking forward to this year’s festivities. No matter how many years have passed since graduation, returning to campus always brings memories flooding back and the chance to reconnect with long-lost brothers.
You can connect with Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(From Fall 2018 Newsletter)