Father Aidan McCall '50 (SOT '54)
Fr. Aidan McCall came to St. John’s from Washington, D.C. in 1946. He took his final vows as a Benedictine Monk in 1948. He received his BA degree from SJU in 1950 and graduated from Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary in 1954. In 1959, he went on to receive his master’s degree in Classics from the University of Michigan.
Fr. Aidan was the second Black faculty member at SJU, after Fr. Bartholomew Sayles (SOT '46, who began teaching music in 1947). Fr. Aidan taught in the Classics department starting in 1957. He was the SJU Dean of Students from 1968 to 1973. In 1971, his title, Dean of Students was changed to Vice President of Student Affairs. Fr. Aidan was the O.A.A.S. club moderator and helped the O.A.A.S. establish a Black Cultural Center. After a temporary location was picked (the Day Student Study Lounge), he worked with student Jerome Barney to recommend furnishings and layout. In 1970, Fr. Aidan along with Fr. Gopaul and student Dave Van Landshoot wrote the letter, which Fr. Colman signed and sent to all Black students on both campuses, in response to the “A Proposition Concerning Black Survival” manifesto. Fr. Aidan saw the manifesto as an opportunity for the institution to change.
In 1973, Fr. Aidan took a two-year leave of absence to study Afro-American history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (receiving his degree in 1974) and the University of Massachusetts, where he got to research the private papers of W. E. B. DuBois. Fr. Aidan wanted to go to Africa to study the native languages, but he returned to SJU in 1975 and continued to teach into the early 1990s. He began teaching African Literature in 1982. In 1983 he was named a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow and studied at the University of Ohio. He additionally studied and attained a degree from the University of Minnesota in 1967. Fr. Aidan passed away on January 7, 1992.
“Father Aidan Enters Eternal Life,” Abbey Quarterly, v. 10 n.1, Winter 1992, p. 9.
Reinhart, Dietrich, OSB. "President Eulogizes Fr. Aidan," Saint John's Magazine, Spring 1992, p. 8.
Schubert, Eric. "Sed Vitae, Non Scholae: A Tribute to Fr. Aidan and the Place We'll Always Call Home," Saint John's Magazine, Autumn 2002, p. 18-19.