Ben Callahan was born the year his parents moved to Mt. Pleasant, the location of the school which he describes in “Promises Unfulfilled”. Living within sight of “the old College on the hill,” he spent his childhood among former students and teachers from the College, attending school and church with the children and grand-children of the men who literally built the buildings and created the institutions he writes about.
Perhaps because of the history surrounding him, Ben developed an intense love of the subject and sought a BA Degree in History from Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. After graduation from college, he left Mt. Pleasant to attend graduate school at UNC-Chapel Hill, and was drafted into the US Army after one year of study. Following his service, which included a tour in Vietnam as a military police officer, Ben returned to graduate school and received a MA in History. He later received a second graduate degree in Public Administration.
In what was supposed to be a short-term position while seeking a “position in history,” Ben became a Police Officer with the Town of Chapel Hill, NC. The “temporary” job lasted for twenty-five years as he served with the Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina and Carrboro Police Departments. He retired as Carrboro’s Chief of Police in 1998.
Upon his “retirement” from public Service, Ben and his wife, Janet, returned “home” to Cabarrus County where he joined the Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society (ECHS) in Mt. Pleasant. ECHS is an organization of local citizens who purchased and restored the old NC College buildings to “preserve local history for future generations.” Returned to his “historical roots,” Ben served three terms as the ECHS President, during which time he became thoroughly enmeshed in the story of the educational institutions that were once such a large part of his community. Again involved in the historical research he had never really abandoned, Ben began his effort to document the story of North Carolina College and Mt. Pleasant Collegiate Institute. This narrative is the culmination of this work.
Ben and wife, Janet, live in Gold Hill, NC in Janet’s grand-parents’ 116 year old farmhouse.