Callie Oliver attended her first freshman formal at Baylor University when she was only four months old and attended Baylor’s first on-campus dance at the age of four. Until she moved to New York City last summer, she had spent the past 22 years – almost her entire life – living on a college campus because of her parents’ jobs in higher education leadership.
Callie, daughter of Samuel W. “Dub” and Susie Oliver, graduated from Baylor in August with a degree in apparel design and product management. She now works as an assistant designer for Zac Posen in New York and lives in an apartment near the Upper East Side. She also oversees the intern program at Zac Posen after completing a summer internship at the company herself.
“My favorite thing to design is evening wear and coats,” she said. “But I like to design all types of things, from long evening gowns to interesting pencil skirts. We have a really big range of what we have to design.”
The Olivers spent Callie’s early years in Waco, Texas as her father worked in a variety of student life positions at Baylor. Though she was an only child, she grew up around hundreds of college students and family friends at Baylor who were much like brothers and sisters.
“People tell me, ‘Oh, you just love college so much and I’m like, yeah, it’s the coolest thing ever,’” Callie said. “[College] is the only thing I’ve ever known. I’ve never not lived on a college campus or been involved with college, until now.”
During Callie’s middle and high school years, her parents had several responsibilities to juggle, as Dub was dean of students and Susie directed Baylor’s cheerleading squad. But Susie and Callie both said their family remained close despite a hectic schedule.
“Even though my dad was getting his Ph.D. or at East Texas Baptist University, he would come to every single one of my events,” Callie said. “He would travel every Friday night to come to the football games where I was cheering. He would still be present in everything, so it was cool.”
“Callie is a blessing, and she has always been a phenomenal child, now adult,” Susie said. “God has really opened door after door for her. [In NYC] there are lots of opportunities to share her faith, which has been great.”
Her new life and routine in NYC have been an adjustment, especially after spending the past 22 years in a college environment.
“Post-college life has been weird because I’m not used to working 9 to 6, I’m used to going to class for two hours then going to get a Sonic drink,” she said. “[The transition] has been good but different, but it’s a challenge that is necessary. I think I’m going to grow a lot from it.”
As the first daughter at ETBU and now at Union, Callie enjoys meeting new people, learning about what they do at the university and seeing how a school can grow. However, she says that she wishes she could be around Union more now that her father is president. His announcement came at a busy time for her – finishing her senior year at Baylor, beginning her summer internship in NYC and graduating college.
“At Baylor, it was so normal for [my parents] to be in leadership,” she said. “Now, it’s weird that I’m somewhere else and all these people know things about my family. So many people are super connected to them and I have no idea what’s going on.”
While she was a student at Baylor, Callie was a cheerleader her freshman year and was a member of Tri Delta sorority.
Though she loves working in the fashion industry, Callie’s career goal is to teach in higher education, a desire that is driven by her love for students.
“I want to teach students, and I think I could teach [fashion] design really well,” she said. “I think being in the industry is going to help me a lot if I ever get to teach. I’ll have the connections and be able to pull from different experiences that I’ve had.”
Callie has advice for Union students.
“Always do what you’re supposed to do,” she said. “Always make time to put school first. But at the same time, say yes to something fun that you are going to remember. You may not always remember the assignments, but you’ll remember the nights you went to Whataburger at 3 a.m.”
Follow @callieclara on Twitter and Instagram.