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Mayor of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
His friends always saw him as mayor of his hometown
John Callahan ’91, loves his job and loves his hometown. Fortunately for him, he's been able to combine the two in a way few can.
As mayor of Bethlehem since 2004, Callahan has found a way to repay the community that gave him so much, while charting a remarkable course of success for the small city.
"Based on my life experience, I knew Bethlehem was going to go through radical change and transformation when the steel mills closed,” he says. “I thought being mayor would give me an opportunity to give back to my hometown and help move it positively into the future.”
Although he started his career using his Moravian biology degree as a health care consultant with Pfizer pharmaceuticals, politics were always in Callahan's blood. The high school student government president, the Moravian class speaker at commencement, the president of his fraternity—Callahan was destined for a political life.
“When I told my oldest friend I was leaving Pfizer to run for office, he said, 'Everyone always knew you'd be Mayor of Bethlehem,’” Callahan remembers with a laugh.
The mayor freely admits he landed at Moravian "by accident" but quickly adds it was the best of unintended twists of fate. "I fell in love with the school,"
As a Comenius Scholar, Callahan found Moravian a perfect fit; challenging him intellectually, while offering him exceptional support.
"What separates Moravian, is it affords you the opportunity to be involved in so many facets of college in a meaningful way." And that, says Callahan, who also wrestled at Moravian for three years, inspires confidence.
While he may not have thought he would stay in his hometown and attend the small, prestigious liberal arts school, it's a choice he could not be more pleased with.
"I'm quite happy with the direction my life has taken."
"What separates Moravian, is it affords you the opportunity to be involved in so many facets of college in a meaningful way."