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Colleen Callahan

Colleen Callahan

Pioneering ag reporter | Distinguished Service Award | Class of 1973

Back when Colleen Callahan graduated from high school, there was no such thing as a female agricultural reporter. 

It was 1969, a different media world in every way. 

“But it’s always what I wanted to do and what I studied at the University of Illinois," says Callahan, a member of the UI Class of '73.

“By the time I graduated, the landscape had changed — Jane Pauley had been hired on the ‘Today’ show — and I was lucky enough to get an interview at Channel 3 in Champaign, even though the job was in Peoria.

“During the interview, I was asked one question I’d anticipated: What will farmers think when they hear a woman talking about agriculture? I said I’d use my dad as my model listener. I already know what he expects — if I can present the material in a clear, concise manner, it shouldn’t make any difference whether it’s a man, a woman or a dog barking out the information.

“They took a chance and it worked out well for Midwest Television and me for 32 years.”