Cynthia Calhoun PA Conservation figure

Cynthia Shallcross Calhoun

November 10, 1902 - December 9, 1983

Cynthia Shallcross Calhoun was engaged in playing active leadership roles in many public service organizations throughout her life. She was involved with diverse organizations, from the Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) to Planned Parenthood and the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Cynthia was president of the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania from 1952 to 1954 and again in 1956. At a time when few understand the significance of the atomic age, she addressed the members of her club, “To survive the atomic age, man must have three things: bread, beauty and brotherhood. We must be optimistic and work together to make America beautiful.”

In 1956, Calhoun was elected president of the Pennsylvania Resources Council. She served as president for 10 years, where she led a successful battle to enact Pennsylvania’s first billboard control law. The Highway Beautification Act was signed into effect by President Lyndon B. Johnson on October 22, 1965, and called for removal of certain types of signs along the nation’s growing Interstate Highway System and the existing federal-aid primary highway system. It also required certain junkyards along Interstate or primary highways to be removed or screened and encouraged scenic enhancement and roadside development. After serving as president, she remained an active member of the PRC Board of Directors until her death.

In 1979, Cynthia was awarded the Annual Conservation Award by the PRC. After being given the award, Governor Dick Thornburgh named Calhoun a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania in 1981. Then in 1982, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by Drexel University, where a dormitory and a program in biomedical engineering were named in her honor.