Campbell Magazine | Summer 2021

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When Campbell’s softball program defeated Boston University, 7-1 in the Stillwater Regional of the NCAA Tournament in May, it marked the Fighting Camels’ first win at that level since 2008. Campbell’s historic season included 29 wins, a 15-3 mark in the Big South Conference and a Big South Tournament title. Pictured in Oklahoma are seniors Claire Blount, Megan Richards and Destini England. Photo courtesy of Campbell Softball

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_____________________________________ PRESIDENT


Britt Davis


Haven Hottel ’00

_____________________________________ DIRECTOR OF NEWS & PUBLICATIONS & MAGAZINE EDITOR

Billy Liggett


Kate Stoneburner CONTRIBUTORS

Alex Baumann, Ben Brown, Isabella Rogers Bennett Scarborough, Katie Smith


26 REVERSAL Campbell University’s wrestling program had struggled for the previous nearly 20 years before a legend in the sport, Cary Kolat, was named head coach in 2014. In a short time, the program has risen to become one of the best in the nation and continued its success after new coach Scotti Sentes took over in 2021. With tougher opponents and a winning reputation heading into next season, expectations are as high as ever.



20 True to its Mission As Campbell Divinity School enters its 25th year, the mission statement created on Day 1 — to provide Christ-centered, Bible-based and ministry-focused theological education — remains the foundation of the school and the backbone of its success.


38 Il Capitano THE COVER

CASE Circle of Excellence award-winning photographer Ben Brown returns for the cover feature on Campbell wrestling, as well as other stories in this edition. Brown won his first CASE award for the Fall 2020 feature on Campbell Law students of color fighting racism in the nation’s justice system. 2 SPRING 2021

History professor Dr. Sal Mercogliano was thrust into the international media spotlight as an analyst when a large freight ship blocked passage through the Suez Canal in March. Thanks to his love for the open sea, years of research and unexpected time in front of the camera at Campbell, he was more than ready.

52 Papa Andy Andy Lepper was known for his big ideas and generosity while a student at Campbell. He took those attributes to India and became a father figure to hundreds of orphaned young men before his untimely death in 2021.

_____________________________________ ACCOLADES

Finalist: CASE International Robert Sibley Magazine of the Year (2020) CASE International Circle of Excellence Magazine on Shoestring: 2020 (Grand Gold) Feature Writing: 2021 (Gold) Photography Series: 2021 (Gold) Illustrations: 2020 (Gold) Cover Design: 2018 (Silver) Feature Writing: 2017 (Bronze) CASE III Gold Awards Best Magazine: 2013 Editorial Design: 2018, 2021 Cover: 2018, 2021 Feature Writing: 2017, 2019 Illustration: 2018, 2021 Most Improved: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 Photography Series: 2017 Publications Writing: 2019, 2020 _____________________________________ Founded in 1887, Campbell University is a private, coeducational institution where faith, learning and service excel. Campbell offers programs in the liberal arts, sciences and professions with undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. The University is comprised of nine colleges and schools and was ranked among the Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report in its America’s Best Colleges 2021 edition. Campbell University publishes Campbell Magazine three times a year. Campbell University promotes and values diversity in the workforce and provides equal opportunity to all qualified individuals regardless of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ethnicity or national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, protected veteran status and any other characteristic protected by law.



our time at Campbell University not only set you on the path to a purposeful life, but it also provided memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. As President J. Bradley Creed puts it, “A Campbell education is not a transaction. It is a transformational learning experience that changes lives.” There are numerous opportunities for Campbell alumni to give back to their alma mater. One of the most important ways to contribute to the future success of the University is by sharing your experiences with prospective students — the young women and men who are considering Campbell for the next step in their educational journeys. Then go a step further and help them schedule a visit to our main campus in Buies Creek. UNDERGRADUATE CAMPUS VISITS are offered weekdays throughout the year. You know from experience that Campbell is best appreciated in person. From our beautiful campus, new facilities and friendly faculty and staff, visits to Campbell are the best way for prospective students to picture themselves on our campus for the next four years. You can help make that happen by sharing Campbell with others! FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER FOR A VISIT: CAMPBELL.EDU/ADMISSIONS/VISIT-US 800.334.4111 EXT. 1290

Ways to Visit Weekday Campus Visits • Schedule a visit (in person or virtual) to meet with an admissions counselor. Enjoy a campus tour – often led by a current student.

Open House Events • Our virtual and in-person Open House events offer a chance to experience Campbell University and learn more about academic opportunities, campus resources and life on campus.

CAMPBELL.EDU/ADMISSIONS Learn more about degree programs, student life opportunities and our campuses by visiting our admissions site at Information is available for future and current undergraduate and graduate students, parents, adult and online students and high school guidance counselors. And learn more about the many financial aid opportunties available to you.


The achievement of athletes BY J. BRADLEY CREED


he general public often gains its knowledge about colleges and universities through sports. Athletics is a big picture window for seeing into an institution. A school is often known for its legendary coaches, star athletes and memorable mascots. When it comes to a representative symbol for our sports teams, Campbell University has no equal. We are the only NCAA Division I sports program that cheers for Camels. The Fighting Camel with bared teeth (he is not smiling) is emblazoned on the 50-yard line, at center field and on banners and t-shirts. Hump Day on campus is not something to get over, but to celebrate. It is also known as Wear-YourOrange Wednesday. Wherever you live, I encourage you to join us in decking out in our favorite colors at mid-week. This issue of Campbell Magazine features athletics. More than 500 members of our academic community are student athletes. They compete on the field, the court and the track, and they give their best efforts in the classroom, laboratory and library. The collective GPA of our student athletes is higher than the average GPA of the rest of the undergraduate student body. During this past COVID-19 year, our student athletes bore the burden of regular testing

for the virus per NCAA protocols. Their playing schedules were upended as fall sports moved to spring contests, thereby placing a greater demand on scheduling and testing. Some games were cancelled. Others were rescheduled. Through it all, our coaches, trainers and athletes became leaders in our campus efforts to take proactive and precautionary measures for mitigating and managing the virus. Campbell was highly successful in dealing with the challenges of COVID-19, and with only a few exceptions, our teams were able to complete their seasons of competition. The cooperative and competitive spirit we witnessed in the face of a global pandemic has also translated into athletic success. This past year, our sports teams won regular season titles or conference tournament championships in wrestling, baseball, softball, women’s soccer, and women’s and men’s golf. For the second consecutive year, Campbell University won the Sasser Cup, the trophy awarded annually to the top athletic program in the Big South Conference. Campbell also earned the Men’s All-Sports Trophy for the third consecutive year and finished second in the points total for the Women’s All-Sports recognition. I congratulate and express my gratitude to our athletic director, Dr. Omar Banks, and our fine and dedicated coaches, staff and student athletes. They make us Campbell proud! You can read more about some of our athletic accomplishments in the pages of this magazine. As great as these wins are, Campbell’s goal for its student athletes is the same for every student enrolled in the University. Our mission is to graduate students with exemplary academic and professional skills who are prepared for purposeful lives and meaningful service. Every student athlete will face the day when she or he can no longer

compete in the sport they have known and loved since they were children. As young adults, they will make transitions to the world of work or advanced preparation for their careers and professions. Fewer than 2 percent of college athletes in the United States go on to play professional sports. By prioritizing academics, Campbell provides opportunities for our student athletes to earn a college degree which creates a lasting foundation for pursuing life goals, achieving success and making a difference in the lives of others in the communities where they will reside. July is one of the slowest months of the year on a college campus. There is not much activity right now as I write this column, particularly on our athletic fields and arenas. In a matter of weeks, however, students will return to campus or arrive for the very first time where they will continue or begin the most exciting journey of their lives. They will meet new friends and attend classes, and some will practice with teammates and resume the cycle of collegiate sports that delineates and enlivens the academic cycle of a university campus. Lives will be changed through transformative learning experiences on the field of competition, in the classroom and all across our campus. That’s what makes Campbell a winner.

President Campbell University

AMONG THE NATION’S BEST After seven sports advanced to NCAA postseason competition, Campbell produced its highest finish ever — 79th out of 293 Division I programs — in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings. The Fighting Camels — who advanced to the national stage in women’s soccer, wrestling, baseball, softball, men’s golf, women’s golf and men’s outdoor track and field — placed 10th among non-FBS schools and 17th among non-Power 5 programs.

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Baltimore Orioles outfielder and former Fighting Camel Cedric Mullins earned the starting centerfield spot on the American League All-Star team on July 13, making him the first former Camel to play in the Mid-Summer Classic since Gaylord Perry in 1979. He’s also Campbell’s first position player to make it to the big leagues — the other nine were all pitchers. Mullins, who played one season at Campbell in 2015, led the American League in hits and was second in batting average heading into the All-Star break, and some consider him the best centerfielder in baseball. He said of being Campbell’s first position player in the big leagues: “That’s an awesome fact and honor. There’s been a lot of great guys to come out of Campbell, and for me to be the first position player is pretty crazy and humbling.” Photo by Julio Cortez/​AP/​Shutterstock




Associate Professor of Christian Theology and Ethics Dr. Cameron Jorgenson is the director for Campbell Divinity’s Master of Arts in Faith & Leadership Formation program, which provides intellectual and spiritual formation for those whose ministry is their work in the world. Jorgenson has served as theologian in residence for the Campbell Youth Theological Institute.

Cultivating a community of vocational discernment BY COLIN KROLL AND REV. FAITHE BEAM

The Spring 2021 edition of Campbell Magazine told the stories of five Campbell alumni — doctors, teachers, pharmacists, therapists and trust officers — who approach their careers with a strong sense of faith and service to others. Send us your thoughts on this or any previous edition by emailing editor Billy Liggett at

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ampbell Magazine’s Spring 2021 edition told the stories of five members of our community who are leading lives of service grounded in their sense of vocation and calling. While Campbell University has always promoted a vision for our world where all people participate in the healing, care and peace of our communities, these stories reflect an exciting shift in the way Campbell is cultivating a community of vocational discernment with students, alumni and friends of the university.

In 2016, a team from the Divinity School, the Department of Christian Studies and the Office of Spiritual Life secured a grant to engage high school students in the spiritual practice of vocational discernment. The Campbell Youth Theological Institute (CYTI) debuted in 2017 as a leadership incubator for high school students from across the country to explore questions of faith, purpose and calling in a community inspired by Campbell’s mission. CYTI participants engage experts in theology, social entrepreneurship, restorative justice, public health and other disciplines as they discern who God is calling them to be, what God is calling them to do and what their most faithful next steps are as agents

of change in their communities. These scholars also have opportunities to serve alongside and shadow professionals like our alumni contributors in the Spring 2021 issue as they discover how their gifts, skills and passions can create meaningful change in their extraordinary approach to ordinary work. The Office of Spiritual Life is excited to bring back this opportunity for students next summer, and more information can be found at CYTI has provided meaningful experiences for high school students in our community, but it has also been transformational for the Campbell students, faculty and staff that contribute each summer. Dr. Cameron Jorgenson, Divinity School associate professor of Christian theology and ethics, has served as the theologian in residence for CYTI since it was founded. Following several years of engaging high school students in the theological practices of vocational discernment, Jorgenson led the creation of the new Master of Arts in Faith and Leadership Formation. This program advances Campbell’s vision as it invites professionals in a diverse range of disciplines to understand and approach their work through a lens of faith and calling.



he Master of Arts in Faith Leadership & Formation degree program was formed in 2020 for those looking to integrate their faith in their secular careers. The program equips students to think deeply, live faithfully and lead with purpose. The 18-month program is designed to help recent college graduates entering the workforce and those with established careers discover a meaningful mission in their work. Graduates will leave with practical knowledge of what a life of deep faith and service-oriented leadership looks like in their fields. Dr. Cameron Jorgenson, associate professor of Christian theology and ethics and program director, said the degree was formed because of Campbell’s long track record of preparing Divinity graduates to serve, whether it’s in churches, nonprofits or other forms of ministry.

“The thing that divinity schools do is we develop people’s faith — we help them go deeper into the story of the Scripture and into the story of the church, what our core beliefs are, and we prepare them to serve in a variety of ways,” he said. “And that’s necessary for people serving in full-time ministry, but it’s not only relevant to them, it’s relevant for all Christians. We knew we needed to build something for everybody, even if they haven’t been called into full-time service, but instead have been called to live out their faith in a variety of places that God has placed them. We built a degree for that.” Taught with both online and face-toface instruction, students with careers are able to pursue their degree on a flexible schedule without sacrificing the valuable community that comes from learning together in a classroom. Learn more:

Through the stories Kate Stoneburner told in the Spring 2021 issue of the Campbell Magazine, she is living into what God has called her to do. Kate and Billy Liggett, editor of Campbell Magazine, participated in a vocational discernment cohort for Campbell staff offered this past year through the support of a grant. The two cohorts committed to a journey of vocational exploration through reading, reflection, conversation and writing their own stories. As a result, these staff members will integrate opportunities of vocational discernment in faithful ways through their own work with students, colleagues, and so many others. Leading lives of purpose is telling the powerful and transforming story of God; an opportunity to participate and embody Christ’s redemptive work in the world. Thank you, Kate and Billy, for telling these stories, and inspiring us to live into our own. __________ The Rev. Faithe Beam is associate vice president for Spiritual Life and campus minister, and Colin Kroll is associate campus minister and director of the Campbell Youth Theological Institute.


Nick Hyer, Dr. Michelle Perez, Dr. Bernice Alston, Tammi Fries, Kate Stoneburner and Jared Fries were among 16 Campbell University staff members who took part in the Office of Spiritual Life’s first vocational discernment cohort, a program committed to a journey of vocational exploration through reading, reflection, conversation and writing their own stories. These six (in addition to Campbell Magazine Editor Billy Liggett) shared their stories in a series of videos about their experiences that can be found at C A M PB E LL M A G A Z I N E 7


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Doctor of Physical Therapy students in Dr. Bradley Myers’ class monitored each other during various workouts — like running on a treadmill — in April. Campbell University launched its physical therapy program in 2013, and the program’s seventh cohort of students will graduate this fall. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 18.2 percent employment growth for physical therapists between 2019 and 2029, and U.S. News & World Report ranks physical therapist as one of the Top 20 jobs in the country. Photo by Ben Brown






GUT FEELINGS Campbell professor’s work on ‘gut-brain connections’ in children is widely known, thanks in part to her influence on social media


he’s an internationally recognized expert and researcher in the areas of gastrointestinal disorders and behavioral sciences, having published more than 200 articles on the subjects — 50 during her short time at Campbell University. But where Dr. Miranda van Tilburg stands out is her passion for the work. It’s a big reason why she’s collected more than 17,000 followers on Twitter. And that passion is why she’s being recognized by her peers. Van Tilburg, a professor of clinical research for Campbell’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences and chair of the University’s Institutional Research Board, was the recipient of this year’s D.P. Russ Jr. and Walter S. Jones Sr. Alumni Award for Research Excellence. Her work focuses on the epidemiology, psycho-social aspects and behavioral interventions of gastrointestinal disorders, but she’s also a respected voice on all matters pertaining to the health and well-being of infants, children and teens. In addition to her published works, van Tilburg has received several million dollars in grant funding and is an active participant in several national and international organizations, serving as an advisor to the Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency. Most recently, she was appointed to distribute more than $22 million in research funds as a reviewer for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, part of the National Institute of Health. MA GAZ INE .CAMPBE LL.EDU

The titles and the work all stem from her love of research. But it’s her desire to help children who are in pain that truly drives her. “Research is my heart,” she says. “I love it. I absolutely think it’s fantastic that we live in a society that gets better because of research.” That research, she says, can’t stay within its ivory tower. That’s why van Tilburg has taken to social media to not only share her work, but share the important research being done all over the world, especially when it comes to pediatric health. Van Tilbrug posts on Twitter daily — often multiple times a day — and her monthly reach is creeping toward the two million mark. On July 5 alone, she shared articles and posts on body shaming among teens; abdominal pain in children; gender bias when it comes to irritable bowel syndrome; COVID-19 and vaccine safety; and the difference between HIPAA, HIPPA and hippos (she has fun on social media, too). “I stayed away from it professionally for a long time, because it’s often looked upon as a serious risk [for professors and research professionals],” she says. “But actually, more and more today, it’s been shown that those who share their papers and their work on social media will get more impact — not only just getting the word out, but more impact in the academic world, because many of your peers are on there, too.” Social media has led to several collaborations with other researchers — she’s currently writing a paper with a professor in Japan and a trauma researcher from Brown University, both of whom she met via Twitter. Because of her visibility online, van Tilburg has been asked to be a guest

My main focus for the last few decades is to help children with pain. Pain in children is too often dismissed as attention seeking or faking. It is not; believe a child when they’re in pain. Believe parents when they report that their child is in pain. @DrvanTilburg C A M PB E L L M A G A Z I N E 11

AROUND CAMPUS on several podcasts and has been quoted in numerous news articles and medical blogs. And it’s not all been health care or research related. Van Tilburg has used Twitter to share opinions on equality for women in the workplace and other social issues. “I have strong feelings [on equality], and I think recently, people have become more aware of the challenges that still exist for women,” she says. “I have these strong feelings, because I have experienced inequality in my career, and I have seen others experience it. I don’t feel that I need to hide those strong opinions anymore, because I think it helps people to see them.” Van Tilburg joined the faculty at Campbell University in 2017, and today she teaches research skills such as study design and medical writing. In addition to her own work, she is an advocate for student research, mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in a wide range of disciplines including medicine, nursing, public health, psychology and more. Her work is mostly focused on gastrointestinal disorders, or as she puts it, “the brain-gut connection.”

Dr. Miranda van Tilburg is active on social media, with more than 17,000 followers on Twitter. She recently shared a photo of herself receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in hopes of encouraging other to do the same.

“The basic gist is our brain and our gut are connected,” she says. “For example, if you’re in love, you might feel ‘butterflies’ in your stomach, or if you’re nervous before a test, you might have to run to the bathroom. We feel a lot of things in our guts, because they are tightly connected to everything else. So when you have a gut disorder, we’ve learned that we can treat these symptoms by focusing on what’s going on in the brain.” For years, researchers and doctors have believed issues like anxiety and depression have been a

cause for things like irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, bloating or upset stomachs, but experts like van Tilburg are learning that it may be the other way around — that irritation in the gastrointestinal system can trigger mood changes and lead to other problems. Her main focus in her research is disorders in young people. According to van Tilburg, one in four children in the United States suffer from some sort of gastrointestinal disorder. It’s extremely common, yet there are still very few treatments available for infants, children and teens. And experts like her have only scratched the surface. “When I started my research about 20 years ago, there really wasn’t much at all out there for these children — a few treatments, but hardly any literature on the subject,” she says. “And it’s been so exciting to see the field grow in the past two decades. There’s a lot more people putting the work into it, and we’ve developed some very effective treatments for these children. “It’s exciting to see your research really, truly help children suffering from this, and to see your research make a difference for them.” Van Tilburg calls the Alumni Award for Research Excellence “a huge honor” and says she believes she was chosen not because of her work in the past year, but for her career as a whole up to this point. She came to Campbell after nearly four years as an associate professor of medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she currently remains an adjunct professor. She’s also an affiliate associate professor of social work at the University of Washington. In her nomination letter for the research award, a colleague wrote that van Tilburg is quick to spread the wealth at Campbell — in addition to mentoring students, she has invited faculty from the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences and the School of Osteopathic Medicine to be coinvestigators and co-authors and has assisted them in writing grant applications. “If you have ever had a discussion with Dr. van Tilburg, you will quickly recognize her conviction that discovery and research must be instilled in our students and fostered within our faculty,” they wrote. “When an accomplished individual sets time aside and takes active efforts to support others, it is impressive and notable.” BILLY LIGGETT

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Campbell resident doctor’s videos on skin care have attracted millions of followers and devoted fans


f the name Dr. Muneeb Shah doesn’t sound familiar, you may recognize the TikTok handle that made him famous, @dermdoctor. A resident physician at Campbell, Shah is passionate about skin care education and empowering people to make informed decisions about their skin health. You can find him debunking skin care myths and dishing out insider tips on TikTok, where he was launched to fame nearly overnight in 2020. Never very active on social media in his early career, Shah discovered TikTok when the pandemic set in. A combination of free time and the addictiveness of the app, which displays short videos in sequence, led him to start posting comical videos of a day in the life of a health care professional. But he soon began to notice misinformation on TikTok regarding skin care. He switched from general medical humor and began posting videos to debunk the most common (and least accurate) tips and tricks for skin care he was seeing. Taking his cues from his audience, Shah became more dermatology focused, responding to user questions about specific issues like acne scarring and safe products for sensitive skin. A year later, Shah is the most followed skin care personality on all of TikTok with more than 7.5 million followers and is the second-most followed dermatologist in the world on social media after long-time social media guru Dr. Pimple Popper. Shah initially started his residency in radiology before realizing it wasn’t a good fit. He wanted more interaction with patients, and the ability to see a patient through both diagnosis and treatment. Dermatology allowed him to spend time in a clinic helping patients on a daily basis. He sees TikTok as an extension of a clinic where he can share information to more people.

“Trust is the most valuable asset that we have as physicians and as content creators on social media,” Shah says. He started to notice that the public began trusting online sources much more than physicians, particularly after COVID-19. By countering any misinformation he came across online, Shah has been able to build his own following by producing relatable and reliable content on the same platforms where he saw less-than-helpful advice being shared. “Trust is earned through building communities and not necessarily given based on a set of credentials, especially nowadays,” he says. “It’s important to try to understand where patients are coming from, how a condition may affect their lives, some of the barriers to treatment [such as finances] and some of the fears they have with treatment. If your patients trust you, they’re much more likely to follow a treatment plan.”

“Trust is the most valuable asset we have as physicians and as content creators on social media.” — Dr. Muneeb Shah

To Campbell medical students, Shah’s advice is to spend time listening to patients and, as the adage goes, treat the patient, not the disease. He also prescribes a healthy dose of vocational exploration before settling on a field. “I started in radiology, but when I switched to dermatology and truly found my purpose, everything fell into place. Explore a bunch of different career opportunities until you find your niche and then pursue it with all your heart.” KATE STONEBURNER

Follow dermatologist Dr. Muneeb Shah on TikTok @dermdoctor or Instagram @doctorly


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ommencement ceremonies held this spring were all performed outdoors. And even though a little rain marred a few of the events, the outdoor experience was a unique one for this year’s graduates.

“The pandemic has been so divisive, and graduating outdoors has created an environment where everyone can find a way to be happy,” said graduate Mark Bushhouse of Fayetteville. “You can be with your family — masked or not masked — depending on your comfort level, and there is plenty of space. I think if it were indoors, the atmosphere would be much more tense, and it would have taken away from the celebration.” More than 1,000 students earned their undergraduate and graduate degrees in May, marking the end of a challenging college experience that saw much of the final two years affected dramatically by the pandemic.

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“I realized very early on at Campbell that there are so many opportunities at this school. I wanted to embrace those opportunities and try new things. If you put yourself out there, some of those new things will stick, and some won’t. And that’s OK.” — 2021 Campbell graduate Aaron Schnoor, who took part in the School of Business’ award-winning ethics team and the Campbell Times newspaper, while juggling his duties as vice president and eventually president of the Student Government Association.

“I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and did things I never thought I was capable of. I’ve always thought of myself as an underdog. I was never the top of my class or the perfect student. But I’ve never backed down from a challenge, and I’m seeing now that my hard work is going to pay off.” — 2021 Campbell Law graduate Kathleen Miller, who was president of the school’s Black Law Students Association and a member of the Women in Law organization. Miller was also a member of the four-student team that made it to the final four of the National Black Law Students Association Mock Trial Competition.

“We’re known for producing well-prepared teachers, so being able to say that I am a product of Campbell’s School of Education is exciting to me; we have the best future teachers.” — 2021 School of Education graduate Haley Farrow, who lost her father in the sixth grade and credits her middle school teachers for helping her get through a difficult part of her life. That experience sparked a passion for teaching, and Farrow is now living her dream.


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hen the 3-millionyear-old Australopithecus fossil known as Little Foot was discovered buried in rock in a South African cave in 1994, scientists were excited to learn more about human evolution from one of the oldest and most intact set of bones ever discovered.

hominid’s upper body, they brought in an expert on paleoanthropology and the evolution of human shoulder blades in Dr. David Green, associate professor of anatomy for the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine.

But the process to excavate Little Foot — named for the four ankle bones that told scientists she walked upright — was painstaking, taking over 15 years to perform without damaging or compromising the find.

Green’s analysis helped the team determine Little Foot had shoulder blades attached to thick muscles more similar to modern gorillas than today’s humans. The bones offer clues that climbing was vital for early hominids — suggesting that structural similarities between humans and apes persisted until far more recently than originally believed.

When more recently a team from the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine began to analyze the

“When I look at a shoulder blade, I can tell if it looks like a human or an ape by looking at the angle of the joint,” Green says. “Our’s

Over 27 years ago, paleoanthropologists began to painstakingly excavate the rock-encased skeleton of an ancient hominin from deep inside a South African cave. “Little Foot” today provides some of the best evidence of early human’s behavior and abilities. Photo: University of Witwatersrand

“What we’ve found with Little Foot — and this is in line with other work I’ve done — is that our last common ancestor may have been more gorilla-like in overall shape,” he says. Green’s excitement for the find is understandable. Little Foot represents an incredible find in a field that he’s dedicated his professional life to. A graduate in biological anthropology and anatomy from Duke, Green earned his Ph.D. in hominid paleobiology from George Washington University. In his studies of evolution and comparative anatomy of humans and apes, he has compiled an extensive developmental comparative morphometric dataset from more than 1,200 shoulder blades collected from various museums throughout the world. point out to the side — that’s how we hold our arms. We don’t often reach up, because we’re not built for that. Apes’ joints point up; they’re larger muscularly in their upper extremities. What I noticed immediately [about Little Foot] was the joint facing up. And the shape of the shoulder blade … was more like a gorilla’s. It’s not what we expected — this was about 7 million years from when the presumed split between modern humans and chimps was.” Green hesitates to use the words “Missing Link” to describe Little Foot, though the evidence is strong that she walked upright and was capable of swinging from and climbing trees. But he says the discovery is important in understanding human evolution.

Before Little Foot, Green studied several Australopithecus fossils, including the famous Lucy fossil discovered in the 1970s. What made Little Foot special — aside from what it revealed — was just how well it was preserved over 3.6 million years.

“Little Foot is the Rosetta stone for early human ancestors,” says Kristian J. Carlson, associate professor of clinical integrative anatomical sciences at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. The fossil is a rare specimen because it’s a near-complete skeleton of an Australopithecus individual much older than most other human ancestors. The creature, probably an old female, stood about 4 feet tall with long legs suitable for bipedal motion when it lived some 3.67 million years ago. Photos: University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

“It’s striking how complete she was,” he says. “The shoulder blade is a very thin bone, and it’s very rare to be preserved in a fossil record. Time does everything it can to destroy organic matter. When time progresses and sediments turn to stone, there’s a tendency to warp and crush the bones. Little Foot probably fell down this cave shaft, and we were lucky no predators came to scavenger. She was buried and fossilized, and her completeness was remarkable.” BILLY LIGGETT


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Mask mandate remains to start fall semester


ampbell University reinstated its indoor mask policy for students, faculty and staff on Aug. 2, a response to the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases across North Carolina in July. The University had previously announced the lifting of mask mandates heading into the fall semester, but new Delta variant cases and the low percentage of vaccinated individuals in the area presented cause for concern, according to Dr. Dennis Bazemore, vice president for student life and head of the safety committee. “It’s unfortunate that we’re having to make this decision, but regardless of how we feel about these restrictions, the safety and well-being of our campus community is always top of mind,” Bazemore said. Campbell will not require students, faculty or staff to be vaccinated, but University officials continue to strongly encourage vaccination. Upon their return in the fall, students will be required to show proof of vaccination using the University Self-Report form or proof to have tested negative for COVID-19 within 48 hours of returning to campus. Students who have not been fully vaccinated or have not submitted a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of their arrival on campus will have an opportunity on campus to receive a rapid-result COVID test. As of Aug. 1, capacity limits have been lifted in all classrooms, meeting areas and events, until further notice.

ONLINE: Keep up with all updates on COVID-related news and restrictions online at the University’s dedicated web site —

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Schools partner to offer holistic health, botanicals program


r. Antoine Al-Achi attended pharmacy school in Syria in the 1970s, and — like most schools in Europe — was way ahead of the curve when it came to learning about botanicals and holistic health. “It was ingrained in my brain, so to speak,” says Al-Achi, who went on to earn his Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from Northeastern University. “I was 18 or 19 years old when I learned all these techniques, and they have stayed with me. I truly believe as the pharmaceutical field advances, students today need to know more in this field. They’ve sat in a lecture here or there, but that’s not enough for a practitioner to really help his or her patient in this area.” Al-Achi, the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences and Campbell Adult & Online Education are partnering to advance this growing field by offering

an online Botanical and Holistic Health Graduate Certificate — a 12-credit hour program that will equip postprofessionals with the skills and knowledge to positively impact patients’ well-being through integrative/holistic health. Campbell hopes to launch the program as early as this year and is currently accepting students. Students in the program will learn more about botanical and herbal preparations, discover herbal remedies being used as alternative solutions to treat and prevent diseases and learn about the therapeutic effect and dosage forms of the most commonly available herbs and natural products. The program will also provide an overview of Eastern philosophies, and “complementary modalities” such as meditation, music therapy, energy work and chiropractic care will be discussed.

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Campbell University’s Office of Alumni Engagement works to create meaningful engagement opportunities for our alumni. Partner with us through events, benefits, communications and philanthropy to make a lasting impact on your alma mater. C A M PB E L L M A G A Z I N E 19 Visit us online to learn more or to update your contact information.


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CHRIST CENTERED, BIBLE BASED, MINISTRY FOCUSED The mission statement continues to guide Campbell Divinity 25 years after its founding By Kate Stoneburner


ecalling the beginnings of Campbell Divinity School, founding Dean Dr. Michael Cogdill says one of the biggest challenges was coming up with the words to describe the school’s mission.

The words needed meaning. They needed to last. Cogdill, Dr. Bruce Powers and then-Provost (and future president) Dr. Jerry Wallace gathered every Monday at 5 p.m. for an early dinner and would work until midnight or later for eight months straight going over curriculum, faculty, accreditation and funding while planning for the school. But just as important to them was the mission statement — the true constant that would guide the school for decades to come. Their shared vision was threefold. They prayed they would develop a school that would nourish both minds and hearts, that would maintain close relationships with churches, and that would teach in such a way that students would graduate ready to go into ministry. Those hours of prayer and work formed the mission statement: To provide Christ-centered, Bible-based and ministry-focused theological education. M AG AZIN E .CAMP BE LL.EDU

“This is the DNA of this Divinity School,” says Cogdill, who stepped down as dean in 2009 and retired from higher education 10 years later. “To love the Lord with all of our hearts and minds, to learn all we can about the Bible and to serve God’s people. We encourage our students to make this commitment their personal mission statement.” To his knowledge, Cogdill wore his Divinity School pin — a Celtic cross over the globe, representing the school’s mission — every day during the 20-year career that followed the school’s founding. The pin is given to students upon their class commissioning, and it represents daily commitment to that mission statement. “Christ-centered, Bible-based, ministry-focused” has indeed stood the test of time. When the school sought reaffirmation of accreditation recently, it surveyed alumni and students about changes needed for improvements. On top of the list of things to not change was the mission statement. It remained the same, even as the school continued to add new programs, faculty and a chapel to call home for worship and classes.

Colorful origami birds hung from the rafters at Butler Chapel this spring — each containing a hand-written prayer from members of the Campbell community. The chapel, built in 2009, has become an iconic building on main campus and a symbol of the Divinity School. Photo by Ben Brown C A MP B E L L M AG AZ I N E 21

“It has served us and guided us well,” Cogdill says, “and the timelessness of such a statement will continue to chart the path of the school for years to come.” _______________


ack-to-back events in September of 1996 would have a big impact on Campbell University and Harnett for years to come.

The first was Hurricane Fran, which hit the North Carolina coast, barreled up the Cape Fear River, dropped nine inches of rain in Harnett county and caused extensive damage to Campbell’s main campus, closing it for days. So severe was the impact of the hurricane that the name Fran was retired in remembrance of its severity.

Founding Dean Dr. Michael Cogdill once said the adoption of the Celtic cross as a symbol for Campbell Divinity was one of the most impactful decisions made. That symbol has been given to each member of the school in the form of a lapel pin over the past 25 years. “The Celtic cross over the orb of the world was developed as our pin to accurately reflect our mission statement.”

The second was the opening of Campbell’s sixth school — the Divinity School — which held its commissioning service just days after the storm. With no power on campus, the first Divinity students gathered for classes at Memorial Baptist Church down the street. The packed sanctuary and sense of hope — even in the aftermath of a storm — made for a memorable beginning. For Cogdill, the true beginning of the Divinity School was much earlier. In 1992, the University began a feasibility study to determine if Campbell should add a school for theological education. Prior studies in 1969 and 1975 had led the board of trustees to conclude that the time wasn’t right, but in 1995, Cogdill and Powers were asked to join

Wallace to develop a plan for the school. Eight months later, the board unanimously approved the plan for the Campbell Divinity School in September of 1995 and on Oct. 22, 1995, the school was publicly announced at the Baptist State Convention, with an official opening date set for fall of 1997. But a new problem arose — interest in the new school, particularly from students of religion and philosophy, was so great that the question of opening earlier was raised. Cogdill and Powers, who had been named dean and associate dean, went back to their Monday night meetings to shorten an 18-month timeline to 10 months instead. The Divinity School officially opened on Aug. 19, 1996, initially offering elective courses and introducing a formal curriculum the following year. Thirty-five founding students enrolled in the first year. These students — and those who enrolled in the fall of 1997 — constituted the charter class of 84 students. The school has continued breaking records ever since its speedy opening, taking only six years to receive accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools rather than the typical eight and surpassing its goal of 200 scholarships two years early in 1998. An outstanding cadre of founding faculty members helped launch the new school. Professors Malcolm O. Tolbert, Thomas A. Jackson, Delos Miles, James W. Good, Ginger S.

SEPT. 21, 1995

JAN. 1, 1996

University Trustees voted unanimously to open a divinity school following a 1992 feasibility study. Planning meetings commenced immediately. One month later, a public announcement of the opening of the Divinity School was made at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina office in Cary.

The University named Michael G. Cogdill and Bruce P. Powers as first dean and associate dean, respectively. Cogdill would lead the school for 14 years.

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Graves and Jo Ann Stancil were among them. On staff, Clella A. Lee, a graduate assistant, became the first Divinity School director of admissions and student life, and she was instrumental in beginning support services and an assimilation process for new students. As dean and associate dean, Cogdill and Powers made a commitment to do whatever it took to make the school succeed. This commitment was shared by their spouses, who took the long hours in stride. It was also shared by Jerry Wood, presentday associate vice president for institutional advancement and planned giving, who joined Campbell as director of church and community relations. The foundation he laid to secure resources for the school is still evident today — the Divinity School is Campbell’s highest endowed school, with 200 scholarships and a chapel built with the help of more than 1,900 donors. The Robert B. and Anna Gardner Butler Chapel was dedicated in 2009, and now stands as a tangible representation of Campbell’s commitment to engage in faith together as a community. In Cogdill’s mind, the chapel was his last great effort as dean of the divinity school. “We wanted a chapel that would be open, and bright, so that as we worshipped we could look out and see the students outside the space,” he says. “It was important that the campus around us did not feel like an interruption, but the very reason we are here — to love and serve our neighbors.”



oon after the chapel’s opening, Cogdill handed the reins to Dr. Andy Wakefield, the school’s second and current dean, who was one of its first professors. Wakefield understood the vision of the school and the qualities that made Campbell Divinity stand out — the accommodation of commuting students, for one thing.

Standing at 69 feet tall, the Dinah E. Gore Bell Tower is the tallest point on campus. Built in 2009, the bell tower holds 24 bronze carillon bells ranging from 40 to 1,400 pounds. The largest four bells serve several purposes: They can make up a swinging celebration peal, provide a call to worship, sound the traditional Westminster clock chimes and strike the hours.


SEPT. 10, 1996

Campbell Divinity School officially opened — one year earlier than expected due to demand — with elective classes starting in the fall of 1996. A formal curriculum was formed the following year. This class of 35 students was called the Founding Class (they would join the charter class in 1997 for a total of 84 students).

The first convocation ceremony was held to commission the new school, faculty members and students. This ceremony is still a Divinity School tradition today.



A commuter himself when he first started as a professor, Wakefield was simultaneously working on a PhD. at Duke, serving a church and living in Chapel Hill. He understood that the new school needed to be accessible to both on-campus students and commuters. Historically, students studying for ministry fields tend to be older than traditional undergraduates, already working or pastoring and even supporting families. Campbell Divinity designed its programs with block scheduling to make scholarship fit in with real life. Even in his early days at Campbell, Wakefield noted a unique emphasis on belonging to a church, both for students and faculty members. At the time of the school’s founding, the model for education kept academics and service separate. It was rare to see a professor who was also a pastor.

The reflecting pool in the Butler Chapel courtyard is designed to provide a sense of comfort and peace to all who visit. The moving water along the entrance to the gathering space and the Meditation Garden provide a soothing sound to those who sit on the circular Prayer Wall and remind all who enter Butler Chapel that “Christ is the Living Water.”

“Students studied the New Testament and developed all the right theories about Bible historicity for a few years, and only then would they spend time serving a church and learning how to put knowledge into action,” Wakefield says. “But because of the timing of its founding and careful thought from the beginning, Campbell was able to integrate study and working with people into the fabric of its programs.” As a school with a Baptist heritage and a strong religion department, Campbell already had strong relationships with churches, particularly

in eastern North Carolina. In the fateful meetings that steered the school’s founding, an intentional decision was made: Campbell would not simply educate for the sake of education, but would educate for service. It would be known for producing graduates who are ready to serve meals and sit with the grieving, who had practiced baptizing and understood church tax regulations. They could write articles and commentaries if they chose to, of course, but they would have a practical faith as well as an academic one. “Being able to step back from the discourse around scripture is so essential,” Wakefield says. “There are impossible questions — problems without answers in the back of the Bible — that our students encounter. When they come across them, they need to be able to say, as I often say to them, ‘So what? What does this mean for my ministry?’” There is a spiritual benefit to practical ministry education as well, and it is that students who get hung up on the same mysteries of life that have puzzled biblical scholars (and humans throughout the ages, for that matter) are able to reach through the academic gray area to love and serve their neighbors. “I don’t get up in the morning and think to myself, ‘If only I knew exactly who wrote the Gospel of Matthew and when, my day would be so much easier.’ I do my best to teach students that

MAY 2000


Campbell Divinity celebrated the graduation of its charter class in the first commencement ceremony of the new millennium. Today, the school has roughly 750 alumni serving throughout the country and around the world.

Dedication is held for Anna Gardner and Robert B. Butler Chapel, which serves as a place of worship and classroom, and the Dinah E. Gore Bell Tower.

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it is OK to live with some mystery. And that’s been a hallmark of this Divinity School — that we have always combined a deep seriousness about our faith with complete willingness to explore and absolute readiness to say, ‘I don’t know.’” As he worked through his own journey of vocational discernment before teaching at Campbell, Wakefield distinctly remembers a desire to both teach as a professor and still serve and pastor a church in a significant way. Today, he is passionate about programs — such as the Master of Arts in Faith & Leadership degree — that prepare students to develop strong theology and exercise their faith in workplaces from insurance offices to restaurant kitchens. “Not everyone who graduates from Campbell Divinity School will be called to work in the church, but they are called to draw nearer to God and understand their faith,” he says. “They will know what it looks like to exert your faith wherever you are — to be Christ-centered, Bible-based and ministry-focused.”

Throughout much of its history, Campbell did not have a physical sacred space on campus for worship. The community gathered in local churches and buildings on campus for 122 years until Butler Chapel’s construction. The chapel today is a tangible representation of the Christian mission of Campbell University.

JULY 2010



Dr. Andrew Wakefield is named second dean of the Divinity School. Wakefield has served on the faculty for the school since 1997.

Divinity School launched the Certificates in Youth Ministry and Biblical Studies and a dual degree MDiv and JD in conjunction with the School of Law.

Divinity School launched the Master of Arts in Faith & Leadership Formation program in hopes of reaching those outside of full-time ministry.





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Josh Heil had never heard of Campbell University or its wrestling program when he got a phone call from Cary Kolat in 2016. And why would he? The program had a combined 3-23 record in its previous two seasons and was barely a year removed from serving a one-year postseason suspension because it failed to meet Academic Progress Rate standards set forth by the NCAA. And the struggle wasn’t new — Campbell’s record in dual meets from 2004 to 2011 was a lackluster 23-118. Fighting Camel Wrestling had little going for it in the fall of 2016. But it had Kolat — a former Olympian and a legend in the sport, and a name Heil and all young wrestlers knew — and it had a group of underrated and hungry young men who had bought into his vision. So for a kid like Heil — who was short on accolades but big on potential — Campbell was a fit. “I wasn’t what you’d call a ‘successful’ high school wrestler,” says Heil, who grew up in Ohio, a hotbed for high school wrestling. “I never won state. I never won a national tournament. I was good, but I probably wrestled at the toughest level. So for Cary Kolat to call me and talk to me the way he did — he knew I had something everyone else didn’t see. For a guy like that to think like that, it just felt right. He knew how hard I worked. He knew how hard I wrestled. And he knew that’s the kind of wrestler he wanted.” Fast forward to 2021.

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RE•VER•SAL noun a change to an opposite direction, position or course of action noun in wrestling, when the athlete who is on the bottom and in the defensive position comes out from under and gains control over his opponent example From 2004 to 2011, Campbell Wrestling had a 23-118 record in dual meets, and in Cary Kolat’s first two years as head coach, the Camels were 3-23. Since 2016, the program has taken off: • 7 SoCon team trophies • 26 NCAA qualifiers (most in the SoCon in past five years) • 6 All-Americans (Nathan Kraisser, Noah Gonser, Josh Heil, Jere Heino, Andrew Morgan and Quentin Perez) • 15 conference champions (including 4 multiple time champs since 2017) And in Scotti Sentes’ first year as head coach in 2021, the program didn’t let up: • 7 NCAA qualifiers (most in Campbell history) • 2 UWW Junior and Senior All-Americans • SoCon regular season and tournament champions • Top 25 ranked dual meet team in NCAA • Raised more than $100,000 on Campbell Giving Day

Scotti Sentes came to Campbell University as an assistant coach in 2016 and was promoted to head coach in 2020. In his first year, the program produced a school-record seven NCAA qualifiers, and Sentes was named national Rookie Coach of the Year. Photo by Ben Brown ILLUSTRATION BY AMANDA DOCKERY M AG AZIN E .CAMP BE LL.EDU



TOP CAMELS Four-time NCAA qualifier Josh Heil (above) has 89 wins heading into his final season at Campbell University. With another solid season, he has a chance to crack the Top 5 in career wrestling wins. They are: 5. Robert Sottile (107 wins): Under Coach Jerry Hartman in the 1980s, Sottile’s teams were described as some of the best Campbell ever had. 4. Scott Amundsen (109): A force of reckoning in the late 80’s, Amundsen went on to coach at Campbell for a few seasons and still remains one of the program’s most loyal fans. 3. Andrew Morgan (115): A two-time NCAA qualifier, 91 of Morgan’s total wins came in three seasons at Campbell. 2. Anthony Cox (120): All 120 wins came while at Campbell in the late 80s for this Campbell Athletics Hall of Famer. 1. Nathan Kraisser (133): Campbell’s first All-American won Southern Conference (Campbell) and ACC titles (UNC) as a collegiate wrestler. PHOTO BY BEN BROWN 30 SUMMER 2021


Entering his sixth year (thanks to a redshirt year and a COVID year), Josh Heil is an AllAmerican. He’s also Campbell’s first fourtime NCAA Championships qualifier, has 94 career wins (12 over opponents ranked in the Top 25 nationally in their weight class), has been ranked as high as seventh in the nation himself in the 149-pound weight class and was named an NWCA Division I Scholar AllAmerican in 2021.

“For the [freshmen] coming in now, success is expected. If you come here, and you fail, then you’re doing something wrong. But if you come here, work hard, train right, eat right, live right and follow the lead of our upperclassmen, you’re going to succeed. There’s no doubt, you’re going to win.”

As for the program, under Kolat and current head coach Scotti Sentes — who took over in 2020 — Campbell has earned seven Southern Conference team trophies and produced 26 NCAA qualifiers and six All-Americans (including Heil) in the past five years. This past year, Campbell had a school-record seven NCAA qualifiers and two UWW Junior and Senior All-Americans and became a nationally ranked program.

Campbell’s wrestling program had its moments before the Cary Kolat era.

Expectations are at an all-time high entering the 2021-22 season with a returning AllAmerican and a Top 25 ranking in the NWCA Coaches Poll. More importantly for Heil, the atmosphere and swagger in the program’s recently constructed practice facility at the Pope Convocation Center is a far cry from what he experienced as a true freshman in 2016. “Six years ago, I had to trust Coach Kolat and what his plans were for the program,” he says. “We didn’t have the success that he could point to from previous years. We just had to trust him and trust his process. And that’s a big leap of faith.

Founded in 1968 under the guidance of Coach Gerald Brown, the Camels put together a 6-5 record in dual matches in their first season and a 7-3 record in Year 2, going up against similarly sized schools like Wesleyan, St. Andrews, Western Carolina and Pfeiffer. The third year brought in tougher competition like Duke, the Citadel and Elon, and by the mid 1970s, Campbell wrestling was a middling program that would regularly beat up on smaller schools and regularly lose to larger, more established in-state schools. Coach Jerry Hartman had the most successful run in the 1980s, posting an 8039 record and bringing in kids like Bobby Sottile (107 collegiate wins against just 20 losses), Scott Amundsen (109 wins) and perhaps Campbell’s most notable wrestler in the program’s first 50 years, Anthony Cox, who became Campbell’s first wrestler to qualify twice for the NCAA Championships

and missed All-American status by just one match in his junior year. Wrestling joined the Colonial Athletic Conference in 1996 and struggled for the next four seasons against schools like Virginia Tech, William & Mary and James Madison. That changed for a short time with the arrival of former U.S. Olympic Wrestling and UCLA coach Dave Auble, who took over from 1999 to 2004 and peaked with a third-place finish in the conference in 2002. Cary Kolat’s arrival in April 2014 was a big deal, not only for a school mired in a decade-long struggle on the mat but also for collegiate wrestling as a whole.

— Former Campbell University Wrestling Coach Cary Kolat, who took over a struggling program in 2014 and in six years, turned it into a nationally ranked program.

Cary Kolat is synonymous with wrestling for the past three decades, and I am confident he will build a program for Campbell that will be known throughout NCAA Division I,” he said in his announcement. In the 1990s, Kolat was U.S. wrestling’s biggest name. In 1992, at the age of 18, he was the subject of a Sports Illustrated feature that called him “The Best There Ever Was” after he tore through Pennsylvania high school wrestling with a perfect 137-0 record. Kolat won two national titles for Lock Haven University after going a combined 50-1 in 1996-97 and won silver and bronze medals at the 1997 and 1998 world championships in Russia and Iran and three gold medals in the World Cup from ’98 to 2000. His dream for an Olympic gold medal came crashing down in Sydney, Australia, in


Then-Athletic Director Bob Roller called Kolat’s hiring a “milestone announcement” for the program. “Nationally and internationally,




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NC State transfer Zurich Storm earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Championships at 125 pounds in 2021. He reached the SoCon Championships final as the No. 3 seed. The Pennsylvania native is expected to be a big contributor in 2022. Photo courtesy of Campbell Athletics

2000, after a victory early in the Games was protested and overturned, and Kolat would lose the subsequent match. He finished ninth in his only Olympics at the age of 27. He would leave the sport for a few years to work in marketing before returning as a coach at Lock Haven and eventually an associate head coach (and head coach in waiting) at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2010. He made the move 54 miles to the southeast four years later when Roller presented the opportunity. Kolat said in a 2015 interview with Campbell Magazine that Campbell reminded him of Lock Haven — a small, rural school with the potential to become a winning program. “I’m exactly where I want to be at Campbell,” Kolat said a year after his hiring. “The smaller setting is more comfortable to me. I can get the same results here that others get at a larger school. I understand the type of kid who wants to come to a program like this and compete at a high level. Some might see barriers here. I see a great challenge.” He said then that he knew the program would have to crawl before it could run. “We’re rebuilding,” he said. “Campbell’s never had an All-American before. We’re going to change that.” Kolat and his staff turned the program around faster than anyone imagined. From 2017 to 2020, Campbell won three Southern Conference Tournament titles and two regular season conference championships. It produced 19 NCAA Championship qualifiers, 12 individual SoCon champions and 28 conference tournament medalists. Kolat also made good on his All-American promise with Nathan Kraisser, who left UNC with Kolat in 2014 and earned All-American honors with Campbell in 2017. Kraisser earned 74 wins at Campbell after winning 59 at UNC — his 133 victories make him


Campbell’s all-time winningest wrestler. Another Kolat protegé, Noah Gonser — the 2020 Southern Conference Wrestler of the Year and a second-team All-American — said the coach’s focus on fundamentals and work ethic, in addition to his ability to find athletes who would buy into his approach, was the key for Campbell’s reversal. “We’re a developmental program,” says Gonser, now the program’s director of operations and recruitment coordinator. “College is such a big jump from high school, and the big names coming out of high school might get lost in a big program and might not get the mat time, attention or experience they might get at a smaller program. “I wasn’t a big name, but I got mat time. And that mat experience allowed me to grow and eventually compete against and beat those bigger names. A lot of high school wrestlers get caught up in the big school, but they’re missing the opportunity they can have at Campbell. I knew coming here that I was going to have a shot.” In Kolat’s final year at Campbell — the COVID -shortened 2019-2020 season — his team posted an 11-2 record and won each of their last nine duals (7-0 in conference). Six wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Championship, and as a team, Campbell ranked as high as 12th in the nation by InterMat, a respected media site. Not surprisingly, larger schools took notice. On March 20, 2020, Kolat was hired by the Naval Academy to take over its wrestling program. In his first year at Navy, Kolat sent nine wrestlers to the NCAA Wrestling Championship — it was only the third time in school history the Academy has sent nine or more wrestlers to the sport’s biggest stage. Navy also finished the season ranked 17th in the nation, just five spots ahead of Campbell.

ACADEMIC STANDARDS Josh Heil and junior Caleb Hopkins were both named Scholar All-Americans for the 2020-21 academic year, and Campbell’s wrestling program finished No. 15 in the 2021 National Wrestling Coaches Association’s Division I Scholar All-America team rankings. With a 3.3589 team GPA, the Camels earned a Top-30 ranking in the NWCA standings for the sixth time in program history and the fourth time in five years. Campbell also had 18 athletes make the Southern Conference’s Academic Honor Roll. The honors come six years after the program was put on a one-year probation for failure to meet Academic Progress Rate standards. Coach Scotti Sentes says the team’s performance in the classroom, like on the mat, goes back to recruiting. “You want to recruit guys who can handle the academic rigor of Campbell, which is pretty tough academically,” he says. “We made sure we were bringing in the right kids — guys who are really competitive but can handle the workload. Those are the kids we’re investing in.”



Before he ever stepped foot in Buies Creek, Josh Heil was on his way to beautiful San Luis Obispo, California — 11 miles from the Pacific coast — to meet with coaches at California Polytechnic Institute and potentially sign with their program, which wrestled on the much bigger PAC-12 stage. Heil learned when he landed that during his flight, the head coach at Cal Poly announced he was stepping down. The trip became nothing more than a nice, short beach vacation for Heil, who would choose Campbell a few weeks later. But that turn of events at Cal Poly would have other big implications on Campbell’s program. Freshman Andrew Morgan — a California native — would transfer to Campbell and eventually become a first-team All-American in 2020, ranking as high as seventh in the nation in his weight class at one point. And two assistant coaches on the Cal Poly staff would leave for Campbell. One of them was Mike Evans, who followed Kolat to the Naval Academy in 2020. The other was Scotti Sentes. A four-time NCAA Championship qualifier and two-time All-American while a wrestler at Central Michigan University, Sentes played a significant role in building the program at Cal Poly, raising the team’s GPA and helping send three athletes to the NCAAs. In 2013, Sentes also initiated Cal Poly’s first outdoor wrestling match, which kicked off a nationwide trend for programs — like Campbell’s annual Orange & Black scrimmage held during Homecoming Week in the fall — to hold their own matches outdoors. Sentes had an opportunity to coach at his alma mater after Cal Poly, but instead chose Campbell, because like Heil, he was intrigued by Kolat’s vision.

Scotti Sentes talks with assistant coach Daryl Thomas and rising junior Shannon Hanna during a spring workout. Hanna was a Southern Conference finalist in his weight class as a sophomore, and Thomas advanced to the NCAA Championships in 2013 as a senior at Illinois. Both came to Campbell in 2020 from Old Dominion. Photo by Ben Brown

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“He had just finished a 3-13 season, so, you know, this wasn’t going to be a sure thing,” Sentes recalls. “But I came down here and listened to his plan, and what I liked about Coach Kolat was he was very honest about everything. He knew the shortcomings, he knew what had to be fixed, he knew how hard it was going to be, and he set forth a timeline to get everything done. I just appreciated the honesty … when you know what the issues are, it’s a little easier to attack it the right way.” Hired as the assistant head coach, Sentes was promoted to associate head coach in 2018, and when Kolat announced his departure for Navy in 2020, Sentes was named head coach at Campbell less than a week later. In the announcement, Athletic Director Omar Banks stressed the culture Sentes helped build over the previous five years — “He presented and articulated a vision for the future of the program, which let us know we had our coach.”


Some expected a drop off in 2021. They received the opposite.

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"WHEN A GUY LIKE CARY KOLAT MOVES ON, IT’S ALMOST A GIVEN YOU’RE GOING TO SEE A LOT OF TRANSFERS. BUT THE CORE GUYS, THEY ALL STAYED." — Senior wrestler Josh Heil on how Coach Scotti Sentes managed to keep the success going in his first year as head coach

Campbell sent a record seven Camels to the NCAA Championships in St. Louis this year after winning its third straight Southern Conference regular season and tournament title. Sentes was named national Rookie Head Coach of the Year by Amateur Wrestling News and also earned Southern Conference Coach of the Year. “There were people who underestimated us coming into last year, and not just because of Cary’s departure,” Sentes says. “We lost Noah Gonser, who was a nationally ranked senior, and we lost [three-time NCAA qualifier] Quentin Perez — we were actually picked second in our own conference, and we didn’t enter the season nationally ranked. I think people were just uncertain. There were a lot of shoes to fill, so we kinda came into the season with this underdog mentality — we played the No. 2-ranked team in the country [Virginia Tech] to start the year, and our guys fought hard and wrestled well. “I knew at that point that we had a pretty tough team and that we were going to be OK.”


The season proved that Campbell Wrestling is in more-than-capable hands. Sentes says his athletes have bought into the mindset that’s been molded over the past seven years, and they’re passing on the right work ethic and lofty expectations to incoming wrestlers. He says the academic programs Campbell University offers — he names homeland security and engineering specifically — have not only proven to be attractive to his athletes, but they afford them big opportunities when their wrestling careers are over.

Sentes was named head coach.

And he says Kolat’s goal from Day 1 is still in place — to develop these young men and put them in a position for success.

Campbell will enter the 2021-22 season later this fall considered one of the Top 25 programs in the nation and surely a favorite to win another Southern Conference title. Sentes points to Heil and a strong returning senior class and wrestlers like Matt Dallara and Chris Rivera who are returning from injury this year as reasons for optimism that the winning will continue. The goal is to get guys “on the stand” in the NCAA Championships, and to make it happen, Sentes has made the regular season schedule much more difficult with matches against UNC and Virginia and tournaments like the Midlands at Northwestern and the Southern Scuffle in Chattanooga.

“We’re getting new guys coming who are probably already better than some of the older guys, and that’s happened every year since I’ve been here,” Sentes says. “But what you see is when these new guys come in, they’re scrapping and challenging our juniors and seniors and making them better, too. Eventually, it gets harder and harder to make the team, and we’re at a point now where we still like having a big roster, but our lower range guys are just so much better now than they used to be.” Heil saw six years ago what a coach leaving a program could mean when he witnessed the Cal Poly exodus. He knew Campbell’s wrestling program would be OK the first week


“It’s huge that [Sentes] was able to keep the older guys in the program,” Heil says. “Keeping the veterans, keeping the seniors, keeping the program together. When a guy like Cary Kolat moves on, it’s almost a given that you’re going to see a lot of transfers, especially those older guys. But right away, the core guys — they all stayed. “Those core values that Coach Kolat instilled in this program — he’s keeping those values alive.”

SOCIAL KINGS If you don’t follow Campbell wrestling on social media, go ahead and change that. Run by Josiah Hritsko (pictured above, left, with Noah Gonser), @GoCamelsWrestle on Twitter and Instagram is an entertaining follow with a devoted fanbase of around 10,000 on each platform. A native of Pittsburgh and a self-proclaimed wrestling “superfan,” Hritsko more than doubled the program’s social following in his first year. During the 2019-20 season, Campbell Wrestling videos earned more than 5 million views, and in 2021, Hristko organized the highly successful virtual Orange & Black Wrestle-Off, a fan experience with 10 hours of exclusive access to interviews, behind-the-scenes clips and preliminary rounds. “I wanted to come to Campbell because I knew this program was going to grow and succeed, and it excited me to jump in and be part of the growth. There’s a lot of momentum here, and we’re getting a lot of new fans.”

“Our goal is to beat those top-ranked teams,” Sentes says confidently. “We always say, ‘Small school, big wrestling program.’ There’s no reason why we can’t do it.” C A MP B E L L M AG AZ I N E 37


IL CAPITANO The world’s media needed an expert when a massive ship blocked one of the world’s busiest trading routes in March. A love of history and a life at sea prepared Dr. Sal Mercogliano for this moment. Story by Billy Liggett | Photography by Ben Brown


here’s a moment less than two minutes into Ali Velshi’s interview with history professor and former merchant marine Dr. Sal Mercogliano about the massive ship blocking the Suez Canal where the CNBC host references the “Horn of Africa” as an alternate route for trade ships unable to get through. Mercogliano doesn’t blink.

“If you have to go that extended route, you’re talking about adding an additional 3,500 miles on a route from Singapore to Rotterdam,” he says cooly. “We’re talking about [an extra] 12 to 14 days, and most importantly, the ports that are expecting to receive these vessels are not seeing them.”

the Associated Press, Bloomberg, NPR, CNN, Al Jazeera, Fox, ABC, Sirius XM and TV New Zealand … to name a few. Mercogliano was also quoted in articles by the New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters, the Los Angeles Times and Guardian … again, to name a few.

Mercogliano’s answer goes on for another minute. The interview — which has been viewed more than 33,000 times on YouTube — for another three minutes.

Mercogliano’s rise to maritime media darling might have happened overnight, but his demand was the result of a lifelong love of water and the mysteries of the deep and a lifetime of study and research of civilization’s history at sea. And when the Suez Canal — Egypt’s 152-year-old man-made waterway connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea — was blocked by the massive Ever Given container ship for six days in March shutting

And it’s just a small sampling of what was a whirlwind month for the Campbell University associate professor of history, who also appeared on interviews with BBC, BBC International, 38 SUMMER 2021



Sal Mercogliano is a twotime Professor of the Year at Campbell University and in 2015 received the College of Arts & Sciences’ Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. “I run a class that isn’t an easy class by any measure,” said the associate professor of history and the new history department chair. “In fact, it’s pretty tough and my students are usually challenged. But these honors vindicate [that approach] ... It tells me what I’m doing is helping students and influencing them in their careers.” Photo by Ben Brown

down one of the world’s busiest trade routes and preventing nearly $10 billion worth of goods from getting to their destinations, the world needed answers. And few could provide them as well as Mercogliano. “I think I bring a passion to this subject, and people seem to like it,” he says. “[The media] wanted somebody enthusiastic and knowledgeable on this subject. “And certainly, I’m both.” THE YOUNG MAN AND THE SEA That enthusiasm and knowledge came early in Mercogliano’s life, growing up along the south shore of Long Island in Massapequa, New York. His family lived “right on the water,” he says, and his father’s passion was fishing on his 30-foot boat. “That’s what he loved to do,” Mercogliano recalls. “On weekends, he and his buddies would go out, and I’d tag along, and we’d go 50 to 100 miles out into the Atlantic and fish. By the time I was 12, I was driving the boat. They’d let me drive it out, I would troll the boat, and I would run it back in. “And when you’re that far out, you see the ships coming in and out of New York City, and I always loved that. That was for me. I just loved the idea

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of one day being on those ships.” Mercogliano held onto that dream through high school and to the doorsteps of the Naval Academy after graduation. He was dealt a crushing blow during his final physical when he was told his eyesight was “so bad,” he could never be the one thing he wanted to be — a surface warfare officer. Those are the sailors who operate the most advanced fleet of ships in the world. “The Navy pretty much told me I couldn’t drive the ships,” he recalls. “I could still become a limited duty officer, but I couldn’t do the one thing I wanted. It crushed me. I hadn’t applied anywhere else after high school. I had thought I was all set.” There was an alternative. Mercogliano knew a young woman at the time whose brother attended the SUNY Maritime College, one of six state maritime academies in the nation with the mission of producing licensed mariners. Mercogliano applied and got in, graduating four years later with a degree in marine transportation (he also played lacrosse there). As a Merchant Marine — the term used for civilian mariners manning vessels and transporting goods on U.S. waters — Mercogliano got to live his dream and, ironically, soon went to work for the Navy in the early

1990s. And because Merchant Marines can be called on by the Coast Guard to assist in times of war, Mercogliano was tasked with piloting a hospital ship in the Persian Gulf. “We actually had the Chief of Naval Operations [Admiral Frank Kelso] come on board, and he came up on the bridge — and I’m about 23 at the time — and was introduced to me by the captain,” Mercogliano says. “And he asked me why I wasn’t in the Navy, and I told him, ‘Because you wouldn’t let me in.’ So not long after that, the rule changed [on eyesight requirements]. I don’t know if I had anything to do with it, but I’d like to think I did.”

100,000 years) — long before the era of the Vikings and Columbus. To this day, 90 percent of the world’s goods are transported by sea. The history is deeper than the oceans themselves, and Mercogliano has become an encyclopedia of knowledge. “What’s fascinating is that in all these years, the basic technology [of sailing] hasn’t changed,” he says. “You can take Peter the Viking and propel him 500 years into the future onto Columbus’ boat, and he could still figure it out. You can then take Columbus and put him 500 years into the future, and maybe he couldn’t figure out a toilet, but he’d still understand a boat.”

His career took him all over the world. The Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the North Sea and the Baltic. Even when he wasn’t at sea, he remained involved in the maritime industry. Mercogliano also made the decision to continue his education with the hopes of learning more about and eventually teaching about his passion. He earned his master’s degree in maritime history from East Carolina University in 1997 and his Ph.D. in military and naval history from the University of Alabama in 2004.

Mercogliano never enjoyed public speaking or being in front of large groups, but he found that when the discussion revolved around ships and maritime history, he was more at ease. And he enjoyed it.

In 2008, he became an adjunct professor of history and engineering for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (a position he still holds today), and in 2010, he joined Campbell University’s faculty to teach several courses in history.

On March 23, a 20,000 TEU-class container ship called the Ever Given was buffeted by strong winds and wound up wedged across the waterway of the Suez Canal — its bow and stern stuck in the canal banks, blocking access for all ships behind it until it could be freed.

If the sea is Mercogliano’s first passion, history (and teaching history) isn’t far behind. During his time on the hospital ship in the 90s, the captain had Mercogliano doing live discussions with the Navy crew about “why we were out there” and “what the ship does,” as many on board were medical personnel who hadn’t spent much time on a boat (despite being in the Navy). Mercogliano discovered that he enjoyed these discussions, particularly the teaching aspect, as his talks not only covered the technology and history of the vessels, but economics, government and even religion at times. Maritime history goes back tens of thousands of years (recent research suggests perhaps over M AG AZIN E .CAMP BE LL.EDU

Even getting in front of television cameras — for interviews broadcast all over the world — is easier when you know what you’re talking about. AT EASE

For six days, the ship shut down access at one of the world’s busiest trade routes — at least 369 ships were either grounded or forced to find another route. An estimated $10 billion in trade was affected. The event made global news, and media outlets around the world were scrambling to talk to somebody with knowledge of the Suez Canal and global sea trade routes, somebody with knowledge of maritime history, somebody who could explain the economic impact of the canal’s blockage and, most importantly, somebody who was comfortable on camera and is quick on their feet when tough questions are thrown their way.

Sal Mercogliano has appeared on televised interviews with BBC, BBC International, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, NPR, CNN, Al Jazeera, Fox, ABC, Sirius XM and TV New Zealand … to name a few.


Sal Mercogliano’s love for the open sea began as a young boy growing up in Long Island. While his “home” today is a solid two hours from the Atlantic Coast, Mercogliano finds solace at nearby Harris Lake near Holly Springs, where he and his son regularly take his boat. Photo by Ben Brown

They found all of those qualities in Dr. Sal Mercogliano, an expert in maritime history, nautical archaeology and maritime industry policy. Over the next week, Mercogliano appeared on nearly 30 national and international radio and television news programs and was quoted in dozens of foreign and national newspapers. Nearly every time, the words “Campbell University” appeared next to his name. It was not only a big moment for the professor, but a big moment for the landlocked University located 110 miles from the nearest beach. “It was a big story,” says Mercogliano. “The Suez Canal is responsible for 12 percent of the world’s trade. It’s what we call a ‘maritime choke point,’ a topic I was already writing an essay about for the Center for International Maritime Security. The canal has been closed

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by ships in the past, but nothing in this scope or on this scale, because this was done by one of the largest ships in the world.” His sudden media fame was the result of a number of factors, Mercogliano says. His background as a merchant Marine, his career in higher education, his knowledge of large sailing vessels, his knowledge of the business side of the sea trading industry — they all contributed to the demand for his insight. But what set him apart from the hundreds of other maritime history professors or experts in the country with extensive knowledge of trade routes and the global economy? According to Mercogliano … lacrosse. He played lacrosse in high school. He had plans to play for the Naval Academy, but

Hemeyer asked him if he would be interested in providing color commentary for radio and TV broadcasts of the new program. Mercogliano was hesitant — “It’s one thing to speak to a room of students, but it’s another to go on camera and not seeing your audience’s reactions” — but he eventually agreed to do it. And he did it so well, ESPN asked him to be part of the broadcast team for a Big South lacrosse championship game (which did not include Campbell). “I got very comfortable doing it,” he says. “Before, I was always worried about saying something wrong or worried people would think I’m terrible. After a while, you realize you did fine. And it’s not like people are judging you … they’re watching a game.” Lacrosse put Mercogliano at ease in front of a camera. Prior to the Suez Canal incident, he’d appeared in several on-camera interviews about maritime policy or other similar (but less newsworthy) events.

when his eyesight caused a course correction, he wound up playing at SUNY. And when he learned shortly after joining the faculty at Campbell that the University would launch a women’s lacrosse program in 2013, Mercogliano — who helped start a women’s club team at Methodist University during his stint there — wanted to be involved. “When it started here, it was such a tiny program,” he says. “We only had enough girls to field a team, but they needed extra bodies for practice — so I’d show up, throw the ball around and serve as an extra stick when they needed one.” Mercogliano invited assistant athletics director and “Voice of the Camels” Chris Hemeyer to speak at a Lunch and Learn program for his students that year, and


“Something producers have told me over and over after these interviews, ‘You’re a natural at this.’ And I’ve had a few people tell me that I seem to be really enjoying myself through all of this, and to be honest with you, I am,” he says. “Look, I felt terrible that 12 percent of the world’s economy was close to collapsing, but this is what I’ve studied my entire life.” THE CALLS KEEP COMING Harris Lake is a far cry from the ocean that inspired a life’s work. But for Mercogliano, the quiet tree-lined body of water located just 20 miles from Campbell’s main campus is the ideal spot to unload his boat and spend time with his 13-year-old son, Christopher. It does raise the question: How does a Long Island native and lifelong mariner find happiness teaching in a town surrounded by tobacco fields, 100-plus miles from the nearest ocean? C A MP B E L L M AG AZ I N E 43

At Campbell, he found stability. He found his port.

middle of Harris Lake — he reveals another factor in his popularity.

“During the 10 years prior to coming here, I jumped around a lot,” he says. “I had a lot of temporary positions … a lot of one-year jobs. ECU. UNC. West Point.”

“The best critique I ever got back from a student was, ‘You made me stay awake,’” he says with a laugh. “I just really like being here. You know, I’ve worked at big universities where you only know the people in your department. At Campbell, you get to know everybody across campus, and you get to be a part of the community. That’s one of the nice things about being here.”

Mercogliano and his wife, Kathy, were already living in Buies Creek before he joined the faculty at Campbell — Kathy was attending the law school before it moved to Raleigh in 2009, and the couple lived in the small trailer park located where the Pope Convocation Center sits today. Mercogliano served as an adjunct professor, but he was approached in 2010 to teach Western civilization and other history courses full time. Soon, the young family built a house in nearby Fuquay-Varina. Campbell became “home.” Mercogliano immersed himself in the community outside of the classroom, not only through his work with Campbell Athletics, but as a volunteer with the Buies Creek Fire Department and by volunteering to serve on committees and other organizations. He became popular in the classroom, too. In 2013, his colleagues honored him with the D.P. Russ Jr. and Walter S. Jones Sr. Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching. Twice in a fouryear span from 2012 to 2015, he was chosen by the student body as Professor of the Year, and in 2015, he was the recipient of the College of Arts & Sciences’ Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence. In 2021, he was named chair of Campbell’s history department.

“It’s funny, because when the [Ever Given] got pulled out, I pretty much thought my 15 minutes of fame would be over. I knew it was fleeting, and I kept telling myself it was going away. But I’m still getting calls. It’s not going away.” — Sal Mercogliano

“It’s especially important to me to be acknowledged by both students and faculty,’’ Mercogliano said back in 2015. “I run a class that isn’t an easy class by any measure ... In fact, it’s pretty tough and my students are usually challenged. But these honors vindicate [that approach] ... It tells me what I’m doing is helping students and influencing them in their careers.” Six years later — sitting in an idle boat in the

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Three months after the Ever Given incident, well into mid-June, Mercogliano was still being quoted about the story in large international publications — the most recent being a Wired UK article titled, “The Untold Story of the Big Boat that Broke the World.” He also appeared in articles about who will be the next U.S. Maritime Administration chief and an Iranian warship bringing millions of gallons of fuel to Venezuela. The media is also turning to Mercogliano to be a consultant. “I get calls now asking if I can recommend people on different subjects,” he says. “I got a call from Ali Velshi’s show [on CNBC] after an Indonesian submarine went down asking if I knew anybody who knows about submarines. I said, ‘Sure. Here’s a list of people to talk to.’” Seventy-one percent of the world is made up of water, and the oceans hold 96.5 percent of it. Mercogliano has always known this, and he’s known about the impact it has on our everyday lives. Now, he’s finally realized that there will always be a demand for somebody who can talk about that impact. And he’s finally comfortable being that person. “It’s funny, because when the ship got pulled out, I pretty much figured my 15 minutes of fame would be over,” he says. “I knew it was fleeting, and I kept telling myself it was going away. But I’m still getting calls. It’s not going away.”





STRONG The ambitious five-year Campbell Leads campaign surpassed its $75 million goal earlier this spring and has moved the goalposts back to $100 million by year’s end to fund the new student union, add to student scholarship endowments and strengthen other programs.

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Major Projects The story and success of the Campbell Leads campaign doesn’t begin and end with the Oscar N. Harris Student Union and the creation of new endowed scholarships. Other major projects completed during the Campbell Leads campaign: •

School of Engineering (launched 2016)

Tracey F. Smith Hall of Nursing & Health Sciences

Bernard F. McLeod, Sr. Admissions & Financial Aid Center

Luby Wood Hall (residence hall)

Ransdell Health Professionals Readiness & Enrichment Program

First Citizens Wealth Management Center

Truist Business Fellows Program

DuVal Chair of Mathematics

Mobile Health & Education Clinics

Hobson Performance Center

Innovate Capital Business Law Clinic

Blanchard Community Law Clinic

Gailor Family Law Litigation Clinic

Stubbs Bankruptcy Clinic

Jim Perry Baseball Stadium expansion

Louisa Alliene Taylor Football Locker Room

Major expansion of soccer stadium

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Bradley Creed knew two things would be expected of him when he assumed the role of Campbell University president in the summer of 2015 — a new strategic plan and a capital campaign. The following year, a strategic plan was drawn up, focusing on four key areas: Academic quality, student success, extending the influence of Campbell and strategic growth.

Also in 2016, Creed and Campbell launched the ambitious Campbell Leads campaign, which aimed to raise $75 million with the aforementioned strategic growth in mind. The plan focused on increased endowed scholarship resources and the construction of a new student union, among other projects. “When I interviewed for the presidency of Campbell, it was clear that a high priority of the Board of Trustees and the student body was the construction of a new student union,” said Creed. “Our investment in new academic programs and athletics facilities over the past 20 years has been impressive and impactful, but we were missing an anchor facility on campus — a student union for our student body to gather, study, dine, workout and just be.” Additionally, in an era of increasing costs, the Campbell Leads campaign was created to keep the cost of attendance as low as possible for students — thus, the need for endowed scholarship resources was and continues to be a tremendous priority. How’s it gone so far? The five-year $75 million goal was reached by fall 2020, so the goal was increased to raise a total of $100 million by Dec. 31, 2021. Through May 31, alumni, friends, parents and others have contributed nearly $93 million toward this goal.

Reaching the Goal Community anticipation for a new student union at Campbell was palpable. Campbell students, faculty, staff and alumni were consulted in early 2016 as the design process began. Fundraising for the $40 million building also started in 2016 and was chaired by Campbell stalwarts Bob (’65, ’12) and Pat (’12) Barker. Of the more than 55,000 gifts received thus far during the Campbell Leads campaign, a third of the dollars have gone to support the design and construction of the Oscar N. Harris Student Union. The other key component of the campaign has been gifts to increase student support through the university endowment. The outpouring of support for student success, endowed scholarships and direct aid scholarships has been extraordinary. Almost 40 percent of all campaign dollars have helped to significantly expand student scholarship endowments as well as provide immediate assistance to students with demonstrated financial need. More than 75 new endowed scholarships have been created during the campaign period through contributions and planned gifts. Former Campbell First Lady Millie Wiggins passed in May 2019, and Dr. Norman Adrian and Mrs. Wiggins left an estate gift to Campbell that will create one of the largest endowed scholarship funds in university history.



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“There is no student union or endowed scholarships without the partnership of our alumni and friends. We have an opportunity to substantially increase the impact for our students in the years ahead.” — Dr. Britt Davis, vice president for advancement


rom a fundraising perspective, the development team was concerned as the COVID pandemic made its way across the nation. How will we continue the campaign? What can we do to help our students?

Incredibly, and with sincere gratitude to the alumni and friends of Campbell, since March 2020 more than $30 million has been contributed to student scholarships, Campbell operations, capital projects, and other needs. “We are deeply grateful for the generosity of Campbell alumni and donors,” said Campbell President J. Bradley Creed. “In many respects, the outpouring of support during COVID-19 is a miracle. We had tough decisions to make as a university administration and the Lord has watched over Campbell.” BY THE NUMBERS With six months remaining in the Campbell Leads campaign (as of this writing), the university advancement team is grateful to have surpassed the $75 million Campbell Leads goal and actually increased that goal to $100 million. So much has been accomplished during the campaign to advance the mission of Campbell University and support our students. Learn more about getting involved at


Total dollars, commitments & payment received during the campaign

Giving Day Launched in 2018, Campbell Giving Day is an annual day-long campaign where Campbell alumni, students, faculty, staff, parents, families and friends are encouraged to “Go Orange. Give Back. Go Camels.” Campbell Giving Day has played a major part in the Campbell Leads campaign as more than 10% of all gifts to the campaign have come on just four days: Campbell Giving Day in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. “What I love about Campbell Giving Day is that Campbell alumni, employees, and other friends make a strong statement about their commitment to the mission and students of Campbell University,” said Tammi Fries (’04), director of annual giving. “I believe our alumni and others understand the importance of giving back. We can ask these Campbell friends to join us to invest in our university and our students. Their response each year is just one reason why I am so grateful to be a part of the Campbell community.” •

Record Campbell Giving Day in February 2021: $1.5 million and more than 1,800 gifts in one day


Number of gifts received


Median gift


Learn more about getting involved and helping Campbell reach its $100 million goal online at



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ANDY LEPPER (1975-2021)

PAPA ANDY He was known at Campbell for his big ideas and his love of people. With those attributes, Andy Lepper found his calling in India and became a father figure to hundreds before his untimely death.


By Kate Stoneburner

lake Barlow wasn’t sure what to expect when he began planning a trip to India to help a nonprofit with media content. He saved for a year and a half to buy his $1,200 plane ticket to New Delhi, and he had only met his “client” Andy Lepper twice before being picked up at the airport that morning on what felt like a different planet. But Barlow’s dream was to make movies, and with a couple of years of experience, he knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to both work toward his dream and help bring awareness to his client’s life’s work— providing a home to orphans in the city of Alwar. What he saw and filmed during his time there was not an orphanage, but a family. And in Lepper, he did not find an overseer, but a true “papa” to that family, in both name and deed. Barlow’s short documentary, Make a Difference, is a beautiful testament to the difference Lepper and his wife, Susan, made in India. And when Lepper died in May — one of India’s 393,000-plus victims of the COVID-19 pandemic that peaked in the country that same month — the film became a testament to Lepper’s legacy. _________________ M AG AZIN E .CAMP BE LL.EDU

Andy Lepper first traveled to India in 1997 for a mission trip while a student at Campbell University. In his journal that year, he wrote that of all the communities he’d visited, God had spoken to him the most in Alwar, a city of nearly half a million people near New Delhi. He wasn’t sure what his calling was at the time, but he prayed for God to send him back to Alwar. Over the next 20 years, he’d meet and marry a woman from Alwar, Susan, he would take over an orphanage in Alwar, and he would eventually call the city home to his life’s ministry. After time, the orphanage ceased to feel like a ministry. “When you adopt a child, you don’t look at that child as an orphan anymore,” Lepper told Barlow in 2019. “They are grafted into your family. So now when we decide to do [outreach ministry], our boys are praying with us and helping us … they are no longer the ministry, they are family. We have 30 of the most perfect beautiful sons in the world. More than anyone could ever ask for.” No Longer Orphans supports 100 children in four locations around the country. Susan and their son Micah live at the headquarters, which houses 25 children on about 19 acres, with a soccer field and farmland that Lepper and the boys worked themselves. Other staff members, including Susan, grew up in a children’s home and share a special

A longtime friend of Andy Lepper, Blake Barlow, directed a 2019 documentary about No Longer Orphans and the work of Andy and his wife Susan. Watch the video at and support Andy’s cause at C A MP B E L L M AG AZ I N E 53


India is home to nearly 30 million abandoned and orphaned children, or 4 percent of the entire child population of India. There are only about 8,000 childcare institutions in all of India. No Longer Orphans was born as Andy and Susan Lepper made it their mission for as many children as possible to be orphans no longer, but to find safety, hope, wholistic care and a true family.

bond with the boys, who are mostly from poverty-stricken communities or separated from their families. Lepper designed the nonprofit to give children stability and teach them selfsufficiency through a woodworking shop where they learn to make pens, bowls and guitars. The penchant for entrepreneurship, crafting and creating that Lepper passed on to so many was definitely evident years earlier during his time at Campbell, according to Ben White (’99), Lepper’s freshman roommate, eventual housemate and lifelong friend (Lepper was even in his wedding). White has fond memories of Lepper’s creations — or, his “stuff,” as he’d call it.


“Our vacuum cleaner was always full of beads from Andy’s budding jewelry business,” White recalled. “He carried a briefcase around campus with him full of jewelry, not books. He turned our back porch shed into his office with a recliner, space 54 SUMMER 2021

heater and TV in it.” Lepper, he said, was also a gracious host. He remembered rappers from New York City staying with them as guests for Lepper’s Peace Freak Festival, which he organized on campus. During the stay, he fed them with his Marshbanks meal card. He also housed anyone from campus who needed shelter following Hurricane Fran in 1996. “Here’s what I learned about Andy through all of this.” White said. “While he was a collector of stuff, he was even more so a collector of people. His heart must have been 10 times larger than the average human heart. He was a lover. He was a dreamer. He wrote books. He created websites to sell his jewelry [Chunky Junk] and pens [LOVOSO]. “He galvanized friends and family to share in his vision for what the Epistle of James calls pure and undefiled religion — to visit orphans and widows in their affliction [James 1:27].”

Every penny Lepper raised from his creative schemes was used for ministry. While he never earned his degree at Campbell, he stuck around campus, living nearby and traveling to India whenever he could. Everyone who encountered him came away with an “Andy story” about his latest project, plan or dream, and when one didn’t pan out, it was “on to the next” — an attitude that served him well in India. “One thing Andy would always say is “adjust,” says Barlow. “We plan and plan and try so many things, he would say, but India has an infamous way of changing everything and you must adjust and go with it. From trains delayed for days to wrecked buses and everything in between, he had to adjust. I think about his words every day.” _________________ Lepper and his family adjusted to so much in 2020. His blog relayed the trials that COVID-19 brought to India and the myriad ways that lockdowns impacted his family and their ministry. “My calculations are 24 weeks without venturing more than 50 feet out of our front door,” he wrote in August 2020. “I will say that three of the staff members have ventured out carefully to help get us cash and get supplies here and there. But none of the boys nor I have gone out in 24 weeks! I have slowly been losing my mind.” With Amazon supply chains down and donations scarce, food shortages became a daily reality for No Longer Orphans. And it could have been worse, if not for a hunch that Lepper had in February 2020. When he suggested that supplies would become scarce and instructed his staff to buy six months worth of food in one month, his staff looked at him as though he had two heads. Despite protests over waste, he insisted that headquarters buy a stockpile of essential food, rice, wheat, oil and lentils. Everything else was a luxury.


His hunch came true. In summer 2020, it was estimated in India that more people would starve than die of complications from the virus. The orphanage had become a beacon in the community, and when many in the village were left with little food, people would come under cover of darkness to ask for enough to survive. Lepper never turned anyone away. Sometimes with food from the storeroom — other times with cash — he would always help. “Although I had a ‘hunker down’ mentality and a small part of me wanted to save everything in case things got worse, the humanity in me kicked in, and we ended up helping every single person who came to us,” he wrote. “We saw firsthand people who were not eating so that their children could eat. Think about that. I don’t think many people in the West have had to endure that. I am not demeaning the West by any means. I am just sharing the reality of what we and those around us have gone through the last six months.”

Andy Lepper leaves behind his wife, Susan, and their son, Michah. Information on how to continue supporting the Lepper family and No Longer Orphans can be found at the organization’s Facebook page, @NLOrphas, or at

Lepper estimated that between food and cash, No Longer Orphans gave away well over 10,000 meals to local people in a six month span through August 2020, when he wrote his last blog post. By the time of his passing, it was surely more. Just like he prayed in 1997, Lepper would throw in his lot with the people of Alwar, India, until the very end. All who knew him knew a picture of true humility and Christ-like gentleness — a man who loved to laugh and who made a deep impression on everyone he met, whether they encountered him at Campbell with a briefcase full of wares, or halfway across the world at a dance party at the orphanage. Though too short, Andy Lepper’s life was spent becoming a father to the fatherless and inspiring others to do the same. It was a life well-lived.




Campbell’s football program unveiled the Louisa Alliene Taylor Football Locker Room at Barker-Lane Stadium in March. The state-of-the-art room — made possible by a naming gift from Louisa Taylor and Troy Lumber Company in Troy, North Carolina — was constructed by Longhorn Lockers, who is responsible for locker rooms at several Top 25 FBS programs (such as LSU, Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and Texas), as well as the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens and a few NHL and MLS teams. “This is such an honor for me, only because my father and brother [owners of Troy Lumber and both Campbell trustees] have worked so hard and built on the legacy my grandparents started at Campbell,” said Taylor, a 1989 Campbell graduate whose grandfather Fred L. Taylor is the namesake for the Taylor Hall of Religion in the main campus’ Academic Circle. “Being a part of this legacy means the world to me.”

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Shean Phelps was a Green Beret before returning to school at Campbell University through the Army’s Green to Gold program. He would go on to earn master of public health and doctor of medicine degrees before finding a home at NASA. Photo: Shean Phelps


FORCE FOR GOOD From his military service to his work to prevent IED injuries for soldiers and his involvement in NASA’s human exploration program, alumnus has made an impact


r. Shean Phelps’ curriculum vitae reads more like an action-and-adventure thriller than a resumé, topping out at 19 pages full of medals, awards, publications, patents, travel, lectures, research and development — plus a Top Secret clearance. But the most alluring section is his professional education history, where the story of a commitment to public health begins at Campbell University. While serving in the Army as a senior enlisted Green Beret, Phelps crossed paths with Campbell University ROTC recruiter

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Maj. Bill Bickle. Through the Army’s Green to Gold program, Phelps realized his dream of becoming a doctor was not as farfetched as he thought. There was just one problem: after he enrolled, he discovered he was too old to qualify for the program’s full scholarship amount. The solution? Complete 18 to 21 hours each semester and pick up a full-time job as a waiter to afford tuition and complete the degree as fast as possible.

While meeting the full-time demands of the Army, Campbell and a second job would have been enough to drive most to giving up, Phelps credits these challenges for preparing him to work harder than ever before while building an excellent foundation for his eventual medical studies and career beyond graduation. “I’ve done many interesting things and faced many challenges, but among all of those accomplishments, failures, challenges and experiences, one that will always stick with me is my time at Campbell University,” he says. “I learned to be a good and curious thinker and doer. One who puts my God-

Photo by Lissa Gotwals

given and Campbell-polished talents to work doing and spreading as much goodness, kindness and practical, usable effort into the world as I can. It was at Campbell where I truly learned my potential to be a force for good and decent change in the world.” Phelps commends biology faculty members Dr. Claudia Williams and Dr. Steven Everhart not only for providing him guidance, mentorship and encouragement, but also for creating an environment of profound inclusion. “My time at Campbell shaped who I am as much as anything else or any other experience in my brief existence on this planet.” Throughout Phelps’ career, there’s been no shortage of experiences and challenges that presented opportunities for him to lead with purpose. He’s been wounded and deserted thousands of miles away from civilization and survived nearly two dozen combat deployments. After medical school, residency and an initial assignment as a clinic commander in northern Germany, his first day back as a Green Beret officer was as the lead Special Operations physician in Europe on Sept. 11, 2001. He provided direct medical support to the forward-deployed Special Operations units in Europe, leading medical teams on classified combat operations in Middle East Africa and Southwestern Asia. While participating in an international rescue operation in the Ivory Coast, he delivered a baby in the middle of the night in the back of a French Foreign Legion truck during a mortar attack while simultaneously treating a rebel soldier for gunshot wounds. He’s also helped to capture indicted war criminals and Al Qaeda terrorist cell leaders. All of these experiences prepared him for the next stage of his career, where his focus turned to research and development for the benefit of soldiers and, eventually, astronauts.

Phelps says the project resulted in the production of a new class of ATD called a “blast test dummy,” which represented the first major update to ATD technology in nearly 45 years. After ending his career with the Army in 2011, Phelps’ spent the next 10 years honing his skills as a physician and a researcher, working five years at the Georgia Tech Research Institute as a research scientist. In early 2021, he received the phone call that led him to Johnson Space Center in Houston to help design landing and health and wellness systems for NASA’s human space flight program. Phelps was recruited to act as the associate scientist for the Exploration Medical Capability element under NASA’s Human Research Project, working with other physician-scientists and NASA program managers to expand the capabilities of human spaceflight. This position is performed under the $10.1 billion Human Health and Performance Contract and is intended to help the ExMC element leadership and its laboratories determine and develop the required capabilities needed for the health and performance systems for future human exploration missions. Phelps also serves as a subject matter expert on NASA designated areas of risk to future human spaceflight that includes everything from bone health of astronauts to the effects of lunar and martian dust on the human body. Almost 30 years post-graduation, Phelps has “landed” at the ultimate curious thinker’s workplace. He’s leading with purpose, using his talents to be a force for good on Earth and beyond. And perhaps he is putting his spin on the Campbell motto “Ad Astra per Aspera” or “to the stars through difficulties.” To the moon — and Mars — with less difficulty. KATIE SMITH (‘04)

Of all of his accomplishments, Phelps says he is most proud of his two grown and independent children. Next would be becoming a meaningful example of being “a force of good and decent change in the world.” One of his significant contributions is the Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin (WIAMan) project, which he conceptualized and initiated in 2007. “We identified the need to develop a new anthropomorphic test device [crash test dummy] to explore combat injuries related to improvised explosive devices,” Phelps says. “Then we developed injury prevention technologies such as combat vehicles, helmets and protective armor systems, and blast event identification technologies.” MAGAZINE.CAMPBELL.EDU

1970s After more than four decades with Sampson County Schools, longtime Salemburg Elementary School principal


retired in June. Johnson told the Sampson Independent there was never a time he didn’t love what he did. He only hopes that he was able to make an impact on children and was a shining role model for them to follow. “I’ve enjoyed every year of my career, and hopefully I’ve made an impact in children’s lives over the years. Bottom line, all my life I’ve just loved working and helping kids.” ��������������������������


was named chairman of Campbell’s Presidential Board of Advisors in April. Gaskins is a past president of the National Alumni Association, served on the Fighting Camel Athletic Advisory Board, and served on the Divinity School Board, where there is a scholarship fund in his parents’ honor. He is the founder and CEO of Seacoast Wealth Management in Wilmington, North Carolina. UPDATE YOUR INFO

While working at the Johnson Space Center in Houston for NASA’s Human Research Project, Shean Phelps met the first man to step foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong.

Attention, Campbell alumni ... Help us make sure you’re not only getting Campbell Magazine delivered to your home, but you’re also getting important updates from our Office of Alumni Engagement. If your email address, mailing address or name has changed, please let our alumni staff know. Visit alumni.campbell. edu/update to submit your current information. C A MP B E L L M AG AZ I N E 59


was been appointed chief judge of the Cherokee Court, which is the Trial Court for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. He was appointed by Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed and confirmed by the Tribal Council to serve a six-year term in office. CLARENCE GRIER (’87) was

named deputy city manager for the city of Roanoke, Virginia, in April. Prior, Grier was the deputy manager for Guilford County in North Carolina. Grier had a stellar basketball career at Campbell, where he was named Big South Conference Player of the Year in 1987. He broke more than 30 school records during his time at Campbell and ranked 12th nationally in scoring his senior year with 24.6 points per game. He was drafted in the seventh round of the 1987 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets, but never appeared in an NBA game. K. LEE MCENIRY (’86) retired from practicing law in 2017. She is now traveling the country in an RV with her husband, JIM WALLEN (’87), who also retired from their practice in 2017. They closed the practice and are now living in Crystal River, Florida.

SAMANTHA STEICHEN (’20) is engaged to Austin Jeffries. The couple became engaged on July 17, 2020.

Samantha and Austin met in high school and they continued dating during their time at Campbell.


was elected to lead the UNC Health Southeastern Board of Trustees. Lennon and his wife, Melissa, live in Fairmont with their two children, Caroline and Tyler. He is president of AnyTable, Inc., which owns and operates Dairy Queen of Lumberton and three MidiCi Neapolitan Pizza franchise territories.

AMBER MEARES (’10) married Cody Howard on Oct. 10, 2020. SUMMER COOK (‘14) officiated the ceremony in

Fairmont, North Carolina. The couple currently reside in Tabor City.

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1990s DEBRA L. MASSIE (’90 LAW)

was appointed as district court judge to Judicial District 3B serving Carteret, Craven and Pamlico counties. Massie is a partner at Wheatly, Wheatly, Weeks, Lupton & Massie, P.A. Previously, she was a public defender at the Carteret County Public Defender’s Office.

SHERRY DAVIS (’91) was named town clerk of Mount Olive in May. A native of Mount Olive, Davis has been employed with the town since 2002. She served as the town manager’s administrative assistant for nearly 20 years.

BRYAN SANDERS (’20) proposed to his girlfriend, Anna Suggs, in April in Academic Circle where they met. The couple is planning a New Year’s Day wedding in Fayetteville.


DAVID CAPEN (’19) is engaged to Rachel Reece. He proposed on March

5, and the couple plans to marry in September.

represented Auburn University scholarly research as she co-presented at the 10th annual Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit April 5-8. President Joe Biden was the fourth sitting United States president to deliver remarks to the Rx Summit participants. Wilson co-presented a panel session titled, “Overcoming Barriers to Naloxone Access in Rural Community Pharmacies.” MACK MCKELLER (’95 LAW)

was named city attorney for Brevard, North Carolina, in April. McKeller is in private practice with Carr, Blackwell, and Associates P.C. He has also served on the Brevard City Council and prior to that, served in the U. S. Navy for 13 years as a lieutenant commander and commanding officer.


engaged to Shuler Littleton. They will be married in October in Havelock, North Carolina.

DR. MUSTAFA AL JAWADI (’99 PHARMD), a veteran of

the pharmaceutical industry with almost two decades of professional experience working across numerous roles, was named to the board of directors of Eli Lilly Saudi Arabia, a leading pharmaceutical company.


Monique M. Rogers were married on Sept. 19, 2020.


CAMERON (’20) and THAD COLLINS (’20) tied the knot in November of 2020, in Benson, North Carolina. C A MP B E L L M AG AZ I N E 61


economic developer for Richmond County, was appointed to a three-year term on the Economic Development Advisory Committee of the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. Butler has served Richmond County in the role of management analyst and economic developer since 2013. ��������������������������


was named to the Sampson Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees for a six-year term. Jackson is a pharmacist at Matthews Health Mart in Clinton and oversees the compounding department and adherence packaging services.

THOMAS FLIPPIN (’00 LAW) is the new president of Yadkin Valley United Fund in Elkin. He is married to Faye Flippin, and they have three children.

Joe and BRITTAINY STRECKFUS (’14) welcomed their second

daughter in February. She joined her excited big sister, Vivian.

DR. JOEY FAUCETTE (’82) welcomed his first grandchild, Briar Anne Shelton, in 2020. His son-in-law and Briar’s father, BRENT SHELTON (’14), is also an alumnus and studied at the Norman Adrian Wiggins

School of Law.


selected to serve as the new president and dean of Appalachian School of Law, the school announced in April. Faulkner served the past five years as dean of Liberty University School of Law, and prior, he served as interim dean and vice dean of Campbell Law School from 2012-2013, and dean of the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business from 2014-2015.

Meghan and NICHOLAS VASILIOU’S (’12) daughter, Ellis Campbell Vasiliou, was born in September of 2020. Her middle name was inspired by Campbell University.


the recipient of the N.C. School Superintendent Association’s Dr. Samuel Houston Leadership Award. Smith Mason is the assistant superintendent of human resources and professional development for Wayne County Schools in Goldsboro.

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MARSHALL (’10) and ERIKA ALLEN (’10) welcomed their third

Zachary Frederick Alsop was born on April 29, 2021 to REBEKAH ASLOP (’02) and husband, Dustin Alsop.

beautiful daughter, Emmaline Kate, on Aug. 11, 2020.


named assistant dean for assessment and professional education for the N.C. State University College of Education on July 1.

DAMION MCCULLERS (’03 LAW) was appointed as a

district court judge in Wake County by Gov. Roy Cooper. McCullers has served Wake County as an assistant district attorney and district court arbitrator. He has been a part of a private practice for 15 years and also worked for Legal Aid of North Carolina.

May Day at Campbell College was held annually between 1930 and 1972, except during the war in 1943 and 1944. The May Court’s winding of the Maypole was an annual tradition. Pine Burr Yearbook 1963

Long gone, but not forgotten, May Day was a cherished tradition


ay 1. May Day.

For years it was Campbell’s most popular “town and gown” event. Buies Creek was very much a working village then and everyone put on their Sunday best and made their way to “The Circle” in front of D. Rich to celebrate the rites of spring and crown a May King and Queen. Preschoolers were chosen as “crown bearers,” and young mothers waged quiet campaigns to have their darlings selected for the honor. Pictures of the “May Court” took up pages and pages in the yearbook. It is easy to understand why. The coeds were stunning in their gowns — not a yard of crinoline left in the county — and the guys wore dinner jackets and black ties. The handsome couples were chosen by their classmates. Each residence hall had a representative and the competition was heated. Day students somehow were included, because I managed to make the Court. Frances Lloyd, a member of the athletic staff and granddaughter of Campbell founder J. A. Campbell, choreographed the annual event. Classical music ruled the day and a record player assisted by two huge loudspeakers provided the music for the processional, the dances and the much-anticipated winding of the Maypole, and the recessional. A few scratches on the long-plays were forgiven. So, too, was an occasional interruption as the scruffy campus mutt was chased out of the cordoned circular performance area.


The program was simple. The King and Queen, followed by crown bearers and then the court, processed in to the strains of Tchaikovsky, while Dvorak, Grieg and others were saved for later. Parents beamed, classmates applauded, and townspeople reveled in the occasion and the predictably grand May Day weather — thanks to many Baptist prayers the night before. When the principals were all seated, including the King and Queen with crown bearers at their feet, the celebration of the return of spring became with a mixture of narration — now lost — music and dancing. The piece de resistance, of course, was the winding of the Maypole — a rather artless exercise that required little more than crossing over and under with colored ribbons and reversing, then repeating several times. Simple, yes. But it often resulted in entanglements that left grace to imagination, spectators in stiches, and the symmetry of the wound Maypole destroyed. May Day supposedly originated in ancient Greek and Roman cultures, and no one knows when the celebration began at Campbell, or, for that matter, when it ended — not even Frances Lloyd. But she did rummage through some old pictures and came up with a few for us. “They are rather amateurish,” she said apologetically. Not to worry. Thanks for the memory! Carroll Leggett (’63) is a Buies Creek native and professional writer. He also serves on the Alumni Board of Directors.

KATIE SMITH (’04) won

the National Award Celebrating Women in Restoration. The award recognizes women in a predominantly-male industry who are blazing trails and smashing glass ceilings in their business, community and industry as a whole. JEFF BLICK (’05 LAW) joined

Wayne Hardee Law, a personal injury firm, in Greenville. Blick represents plaintiffs in litigation and prelitigation matters involving all types of personal injuries and wrongful death cases. While at Campbell, Blick was a four-time Academic All-Conference recipient for Campbell baseball and was recognized by ESPN Magazine as an honorable mention Academic AllAmerican. LESLIE ISENHOUR (’06)

was named department head of biotechnology programs and director of the BioNetwork Capstone Center at Wake Tech. She oversees biotechnology-related programs across multiple Wake Tech campuses and industry training efforts at the Capstone Center, a simulated biomanufacturing facility with state-of-the-art classrooms, industrial grade equipment laboratories and a certified cleanroom suite. C A MP B E L L M AG AZ I N E 63


Southeastern Trust as trust officer in Nashville, Tenn. Haigler came to Southeastern Trust after working nearly six years at Wells Fargo in North Carolina and in Nashville. Before that, he spent nearly five years at Bank of America’s U.S. Trust unit. ��������������������������

2010s DR. LENZY STEPHENSON (’10), daughter of CAROL GAY (‘81), is a family physician for

Central Valley Indian Health Medical Clinic in Clovis, California.

BEN POLLAND (’12) was

one of 20 PGA Club Professionals to earn a spot in the 2021 PGA Championships at Kiawah Island in South Carolina. While he didn’t make the cut after two days of play, Poland did finish tied with or ahead of several big names in the sport. Polland is a graduate of Campbell University’s PGA Golf Management University Program; while he was there, he played a vital role as his Campbell squad won the 2012 PGA Jones Cup.

KAYLA CLARK (’12) started a new job at Campbell University as an advisor in the Academic Advising office. JONATHAN PICKELMAN (’13 TRUST) was promoted to vice

president at Tri-Star Trust in Michigan. Pickelman began his career at Tri-Star in 2015 as a member of the investment team. In 2016, he transitioned to trust administration, where he continued to grow and play an important role in servicing clients and becoming a leader within the organization.

JEFF REA (’91)

INTERN ADVOCATE Alum’s experience as an intern for the City of Dunn transformed his life. Today, he’s launched his own intern pipeline in Indiana.


eff Rea arrived at Campbell in 1987 wanting to become a pharmacist. He planned to follow in the footsteps of his parents, both his grandfathers and his great-grandfather, who were all pharmacists. He spent much of his childhood in and around a pharmacy, so this career path seemed natural. What he soon realized upon his arrival at Campbell was that it was not the medical aspect of pharmacy that interested him, but the administrative component. Not exactly sure what to do with this realization, Rea knew he no longer wanted to major in pre-pharmacy. He decided to pursue a degree in government with a concentration in public administration, hoping it would open up opportunities in both the private and public sectors. Although he enjoyed his classes, he was still unsure what he wanted to do. This all changed with an internship. Rea’s academic advisor helped him connect with an opportunity at the city manager’s office in Dunn. Although he had been to Dunn many times while living on campus, he did not know much about the city. He was immediately given a front row seat to the inner workings of Dunn city government. Despite his lack of experience, they put him to work right away. “No two days seemed alike, and I got some great insight into the men and women working hard each day for the city to make it a better place,” Rea says. “I was hooked. I could see myself wanting to do something like this as I gathered my diploma in the spring of 1991. I left hoping for an opportunity in a city manager’s office somewhere in North Carolina. I was open to anything.” The internship was much more than making copies and grabbing coffee. Rea’s first task was to review and understand the city’s Use of Force and

64 SUMMER 2021

Jeff Rea, a 1987 graduate of Campbell University, runs the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce in Indiana. His job includes being in charge of a community of more than 50,000 shareholders and 680 employees.

Deadly Force policies in the aftermath of the 1991 beating of Rodney King by four Los Angeles police officers. During his internship, Rea was able to have a seat at the table during the City of Dunn’s conversations surrounding the topic. And as time went on, he worked hard on a variety of projects. His main job consisted of meeting with local neighborhood residents to collect information that would help to obtain federal community development block grants; these grants helped to support low income residents. After graduation, Rea worked in the private sector for a few years, but his desire to do something meaningful on behalf of a community never left; this was greatly influenced by the people and the experiences he had at his internship. Four years later, he returned to his hometown and accepted an entry level position with the City

of Mishawaka, Indiana. Rea went on to be elected the mayor of Mishawaka and served a seven-year term. Today, he runs the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is now more on the business side of things, but still does economic development and spends a lot of his time on business advocacy. His job includes being in charge of a community of more than 50,000 shareholders and 680 employees. Rea is putting his Campbell education to use every day, and he still uses the experience he gained in Dunn to navigate financial difficulties and set the community up for long-term success. “I remember very clearly my first ‘real-job’ experience that my internship afforded me, and I know that it had a big influence on my career path and still influences me in my job today,” Rea says. He says an internship is the perfect way to “make sure you’re in the right field.” He encourages Campbell students to take advantage of the opportunity for internships the school provides. In his role at the Chamber of Commerce, Rea believes interns are a critical component of the talent pipeline. He launched an intern program that helps connect interns to opportunities in the Mishawaka area, and employers to interns. The program has helped place hundreds of interns in the region. Campbell University’s Alumni Association launched a platform that does something very similar called CamelLink. CamelLink provides alumni and current students the chance to connect, network and share job opportunities. CamelLink includes resources for alumni, students, and faculty and staff and facilitates the formation of mentor-mentee relationships. MEGAN STEENBERGH

If you have an internship opportunity to share or would like to connect with students, join CamelLink at MAGAZINE.CAMPBELL.EDU

Taylor Holder, left, showing off her ring during the Homecoming 2015 ring ceremony.


Considered lost forever, alum’s Campbell ring found in Florida


hen Taylor Holder got the news, she was ecstatic. Someone had found the class ring she lost in Florida more than a year prior and shipped it back to Campbell’s Office of Alumni Engagement in hopes that it would find its owner. After graduating from Campbell in 2017, Holder went back to pursue a pharmaceutical degree. On fall break in 2019, she went down to Cocoa Beach, Florida, and visited her boyfriend with her sister, Megan Holder (’20). While there, they toured the Visitor Complex of the Kennedy Space Center where her boyfriend, Joseph, worked. At one point, she took the ring off her finger because it was growing uncomfortable in the heat. When she got back home, Holder realized it was not in her purse or bags. After several weeks, Holder stopped searching. Then in January, a year and five months after she first lost it, Holder got an email from the Office of Alumni Engagement saying they had her ring.

“I had convinced myself that I somehow dropped it off the pier and it was gone forever,” she says. “I felt so lucky ... I lost it so long ago so this was completely unexpected.” Julia Brewster found her ring in a parking lot in Florida. At first, she did not realize it was a class ring and left it in a drawer. Later, as she and her mother Pamela were cleaning, they rediscovered it. Pamela recognized it as a class ring, took a picture of the insignia, and blew up the image to find the school. Then she googled Campbell University and asked for help in finding who the ring belonged to. For Holder, her class ring symbolizes all her hard work, the relationships she made and the experiences she and her family have had at Campbell. “Campbell has been really good to me and my family. My dad works at Campbell, my sister went to Campbell and I went to Campbell for undergrad and now pharmacy school. I am very appreciative for the school and the opportunities it has provided for my family.” ISABELLA ROGERS



was named director of football strength and conditioning at the University of South Florida. A former wide receiver and tight end at Campbell, Artis arrived at USF after three seasons at the University of Tennessee, the last of which he served as director of football sports performance for the athletics program. Prior to Tennessee, Artis spent two seasons at Duke (2016-18) working as assistant director of strength and conditioning. He also had stints on the staffs at Appalachian State (2015-16) and Campbell (2014-15). BRANDIE MAE GRUBB (’15) started

working as an economic development specialist for Sampson County in 2021. Willow Spring High School, Wake County’s newest school, hired TRAVIS LONG (’15) to coach baseball and football. Long pitched at Campbell University in 2014-15 and went on to coach at Overhills Middle School and South Garner High School. EMILY FRONK (’17 DPT) is a board certified orthopaedic specialist and started a new job in 2020 as physical therapist and educator at Ft. Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina. LEILANI DOI MAYBIN (’17 DPT) and DUSTIN MAYBIN (’17 PHARMD) were united in

marriage on April 7, 2018. Leilani started working as a pediatric physical therapist in 2019 with Carolina Pediatric Therapy in Hendersonville, North Carolina, and Dustin started a new job as a pharmacist on Feb. 17, with Ingles Pharmacy in Hendersonville. They welcomed son Knox on June 30, 2020.

66 SUMMER 2021

Mike McKee is the drummer for the Durham-based indie folk band Delta Rae and is owner of Drum Team Collective, an interactive “Rock N Roll experience” to help corporate team building. Courtesy photo

MIKE McKEE (’06)

BEATS BY MCKEE Drummer found international success with Delta Rae and corporate success with his team-building Drum Team Collective experience


hen he came to Campbell University, Mike McKee was already looking forward to taking his passion for drumming to the next level. He could sometimes practice with a small rig in his room or privately with Dr. Charles Wilson, associate professor and director of bands and instrumental studies. However, it was his performances at the gigs he booked on school nights that gave him the experience he needed to go professional. Since he was 10 years old, McKee knew he didn’t want a job where he had to wear a necktie to work every day. Instead, he wanted to impact people,

Orange Owned provides a network of support and recognition between Campbell alumni and alumni who own businesses. Learn more about alumniowned businesses at

energizing them and raising their spirits. For him, music was the best path he could take to reach this goal.

“One of my favorite quotes is from Joseph Campbell: ‘Follow your bliss,’ which is an eloquent way of saying, ‘Do stuff that makes you happy.’ That, and bringing joy to others, is what guides me through life.” It has been more than 25 years since McKee first started drumming. Now, he is a member of the popular indie rock band Delta Rae, performing on shows like Conan O’ Brien and The Tonight Show and touring all over the world. In addition to his work with Delta Rae and other artists, a great deal of his time goes towards his business, Drum Team Collective. In 2017, McKee got a call from an event planner asking if he was interested in hosting a drum-circle activity, but with flare. He had done one-on-one lessons before, but nothing like group drumming. McKee came up with an original take on group drumming, pitched it to the planner and held his first-ever event. From there, McKee’s new business took off. With Drum Team Collective, workplace teams can “live out their rock and roll dreams while strengthening team dynamics.” Each participant acts as a part of a drum set and works together to set the driving rhythm and beat for a song played by a live rock band. “Our goal is to empower and educate teams to find their inner rock star and work together to be in the driver’s seat of a real rock and roll show,” he says. McKee’s career has taken a few twists and turns, and unexpected opportunities popped up along the way. “The music industry is volatile, exciting and provides once in a lifetime experiences,” he says. “Earlier in my career, I was certainly taking things like playing late-night TV shows, worldwide travel, etc. for granted. Now, I relish each gig and fan interaction more than ever.”

Along with many other small business owners in 2020, McKee had to create a new way to engage potential clients. As he navigated through the early months of COVID, he asked himself, “How do I ‘Judo’ this situation and use the challenge I’m facing in my favor?” Through some creative brainstorming, QuaranTEAM Building was born. QuaranTEAM offers a safe alternative to group drumming. Instead of playing real drums, participants use everyday household objects and record their session through Zoom. With a little postproduction magic, McKee and his team turn that recording into a real music video. “We were set up for an amazing year,” McKee says, “once gatherings can happen again, thriving will certainly be the word of choice.” It was at Campbell that McKee learned how to juggle multiple responsibilities, which has served him well with the two small businesses, full-time indie rock band commitment, and doing one-on-one lessons on the side. Dr. Kent Stone, professor of Spanish, and his father, Dr. Richard McKee, associate professor of music, encouraged him in his musical pursuits, giving him the self-confidence to make his projects and ideas come to fruition. “I’m convinced that their encouragement is a part of why I was able to freely chase down an idea like Drum Team Collective.” Drum Team Collective is a member of Orange Owned, a program hosted by the Alumni Association that works to connect Campbell alumni with businesses owned and operated by fellow alumni. “I feel honored to be a part of Orange Owned and among the ranks of other fantastic entrepreneurs and fellow Camels.” ISABELLA ROGERS

SUSAN SIERER (’17) was

ordained to the priesthood in the Anglican Communion in North America on May 16, at Church of the Holy Cross in Raleigh.

IQRA CHHOTANI IMAM (’17 DPT) and husband Taha

Imam welcomed son Noah in November 2018. Iqra is working as a physical therapist in Cary, North Carolina. EVAN LUCAS (’17, ’20 PHARMD)

is a research pharmacist at Trial Management Associates, a clinical research site based in Wilmington. He oversees a team that prepares and dispenses investigational drugs to patients in clinical trials. He has been working on the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine studies while counseling patients on the vaccines. LYDIA SPRINKLE HEFNER (’18 BSN) was recently promoted

to interim assistant director and clinical coordinator of Cardiac Telemetry at Iredell Memorial Hospital in Statesville, North Carolina.


was named Cape Fear Valley Health’s 2021 Resident of the Year. According to her nomination, Roe has “won the respect of all her peers as a senior internal medicine resident.” Described as a respected leader who gives tirelessly of herself to her patients, she “has helped lead the way with COVID-19 planning and implementation of changes in patient care.” MATTHEW EUBANKS (’19 PA)

married Amanda McCoy on Dec. 31, in Pinehurst, North Carolina. He is an inpatient psychiatric physician assistant at Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst. LIZ WEST GREEN (’19 DPT)

Drum Team Collective is a unique way to build unity and leadership for corporate teams, organizations or private events. McKee launched the new company in 2017 and took it to Zoom during the pandemic with the offshoot, QuaranTEAM Building. Photo: Facebook @DrumTeamCollective MAGAZINE.CAMPBELL.EDU

started a new job as a doctor of physical therapy at Goldsboro Physical Therapy & Wellness and plans to become dry needling certified this summer. C A MP B E L L M AG AZ I N E 67


a new job as communications and donor relations manager at William Peace University. She is also the editor-in-chief of the WPU Alumni Magazine and published the magazine’s first edition in July 2020. FAHIM LODHI (’19 DPT) started a new job in 2020 with Carolina Therapy Services as a lead physical therapist at Scotia Village in Laurinburg, North Carolina. DANIELLE EUSTACE (’19 DPT)

started a new job in 2020 as a staff physical therapist with PT Solutions in Cary, North Carolina. She and STEPHEN BAJOREK (’19 MSPH) became engaged in September 2020. CATHERINE PERRY FLEMING (’19 PA) married David Fleming

on Sept. 26, 2020, and they reside in Greenville, North Carolina. Catherine works in interventional radiology as a physician assistant at Eastern Radiologists in Greenville.


2020s ANNA FINESTONE LEVIERE (’20 PA) joined

FirstHealth of the Carolinas Infectious Diseases. Her past work experience includes clinical research manager at FHI 360, where she oversaw the implementation of research studies on HIV, and project coordinator at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases. Additionally, she worked for a non-profit in Ghana coordinating medical supply shipments and managing operational tasks. CHARLENE PARKS (’20 BSN)

received a Daisy Award at WakeMed Raleigh where she works as a registered nurse on the rehabilitation floor.

68 SUMMER 2021

Robert Kautzman returned to Campbell for the first time in 35 years for his class’ 50th reunion in 2018. “[Campbell] transformed into a really beautiful campus compared to what I remembered in my days as a bland little college ... next to mostly a dry creek.” Photo by Bennett Scarborough

WHY I GIVE BACK A return to Campbell for his 50th reunion inspired Texas engineer to give back to the school that shaped him as a young man By ROBERT KAUTZMAN (‘68)


couple of years ago I received in the mail a notice of an upcoming 50-year college reunion at Campbell. I graduated from Campbell in 1968 and had not been back to the campus in over 35 years. After giving it some thought, I decided that I would go to the reunion realizing I would likely not know anyone in attendance after so many years. Nevertheless, I did have some good memories of my time at Campbell and wanted to see how it changed. I packed and left my ranch in Northeast Texas in my pickup and started to head east. The trip to North

Carolina was quite beautiful. In addition to stopping and visiting friends on the way in Tennessee, the springtime drive through the mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina was beautiful. After a night’s stay in Raleigh, the next morning I headed to the “Creek” and immediately drove around to look for some familiar landmarks. They were few and far between — Marshbanks, Kivett and D. Rich Memorial, and a couple of older but updated dormitories. There were many new buildings I did not recognize, and the school was just beginning to break ground for the new student union building. While not going into detail, the two days of the reunion were both enjoyable and informative. It not only included several presentations of

the Campbell staff on the current status of the University, but also included being a part of the graduation ceremony and visiting the new engineering school and the health sciences campus. Some of the things I expected, while others I did not, like President J. Bradley Creed sitting down next to me at a breakfast gathering and reminiscing about his parents and him growing up in East Texas about 50 miles from my ranch. Probably the most touching thing for me was Sunday morning after the reunion activities were formally over. The semester was over, most of the students had left and there was barely a person on campus. I decided to walk around campus and look at all the buildings. I was amazed how it had grown.

One of the key things I did learn at Campbell was that I had to work hard to get what I wanted. For some of us, things come easy. For others, like me, it takes some real effort. In looking at my past, I also attributed my success to another key factor. In addition to working hard, my success has centered on the fact that I have over my career tried to associate myself with “good people.” My definition of a good person is one who continues to better oneself and in the process does things to help others so all of us can benefit to make this a better world to live in. MY ESTATE PLANNING After considerable thought following my trip to the reunion, I decided to give a portion of my estate to Campbell. This is largely because I feel the foundation for which I built my career and how I lived my life really started with Campbell. I met some great people at the school, some very dedicated staff and some memorable times.

After walking for a while, I decided to go to my truck and Robert Kauztman graduated from Campbell College in get my drone. I launched it in 1968. He has fond memories the middle of campus (probably of Dean A.R. Burkot, who against campus rules) and started helped persuade the flying it as far as I could visibly Pennsylvania native to come to see it in the air. After airborne, I Campbell after high school. was just really amazed how much the campus had grown — the football stadium, the business school, the chapel, I regarded Dean A.R. Burkot highly as a convocation center, numerous dormitories. professional, and there were others. The head of Overall, it was transformed into a really beautiful the Department of Geology, Dr. Ed Howard, and campus compared to what I remembered in my his teaching staff were of high quality. There were days as a kind of bland little college with a few numerous others at Campbell who were very yellowish/brownish colored brick buildings that dedicated to helping students in their career goals. was next to a mostly dry creek. Further, the school had a positive influence on my After running my batteries low on the drone, I landed it and sat down on a bench near “ole J.A. Campbell” and thought. I thought about all the hard work and dedication that it took amongst the staff and students, as well all the financial donors, to get the University to where it is today. I thought about my last 50 years and how I grew from being a Campbell College freshman to where I was today. I also remembered all the hard work and experiences that I have had over my working career. Yes, getting a college degree was of paramount importance in my personal goal.

values, my Christian beliefs and my personal goals. My wife and I are planning on giving a part of my estate under the Wiggins Society in three areas — the Dr. and Mrs. A. R. Burkot Scholarship Trust Agreement for undergraduate scholarships; the Dr. Harry E. Huff and Florence G. Huff Osteopathic Medical Endowment; and the Robert R. (’68) and Harriet H. Kautzman Engineering Endowment. I’m giving to the Burkot trust in memory of my uncle, Wilbert C. Kautzman. My uncle came to Campbell in the late 30s when it was a

LEGACY.CAMPBELL.EDU Live the best life you can now while providing for your loved ones and favorite charities. In an effort to assist our loyal constituents and friends, Campbell has established a new planned giving website at Perhaps your goals may also include health care if you become disabled, increasing your retirement income, reducing estate taxes, creating a charitable legacy or planning for a business. The key is to develop a plan now that coincides with your goals and to live with the security now that your wishes will be met. Planned Giving Director Peter Donlon is available for a complementary discussion to help you get started. Contact him at, or (910) 893-1847.



JENNY LEE (’08, ‘11 MDIV) is the

pastor at Pocket Presbyterian Church in Sanford and an adjunct instructor at Central Carolina Community College.

She arrived at Campbell caught between what felt like a call to ministry and a church tradition that she says did not welcome women in leadership. “In October of my freshman year, while sitting in Dr. Kathryn Lopez’s Introduction to Christianity class, I heard a voice clearly telling me that I would ‘speak for the edification of the church,’” Lee says. Her call to vocational ministry was undeniable. That day, she became a religion major and would earn her undergraduate degree in 2008. She also earned her Master of Divinity in 2011 and a Doctor of Education from East Tennessee State University in 2018. She is pastor of Pocket Presbyterian Church in Sanford. She also teaches ethics at CCCC. “Teaching in a public institution is an opportunity for me to encourage my students to examine their worldviews and explore new ways of living in our wonderfully diverse world,” she says. She says she is dedicated to providing faith formation and personal formation opportunities that engage the heart, soul and mind. “It is my continual hope that my work invites individuals to love God and neighbor as together we challenge our assumptions, welcome one another, and continually transform.” C A MP B E L L M AG AZ I N E 69


TRACI DAVIS (‘12), owner of

Bad Cat Coffee Co. located in the Morgan Street Food Hall in downtown Raleigh, credits her Campbell experience for giving her the confidence and skillset to open her own business. “The classes I took at Campbell helped me learn what it takes to run a good business,” Davis says. “Indepth classes in accounting and economics equipped me with knowledge that is the basis of my everyday business decisions. Also, being challenged by my professors to bring my best to my studies built my confidence.”

junior college. Dean Burkot and he were both instrumental on getting me away from my roots in Pennsylvania and urging me to begin my college education at Campbell. It was Dean Burkot who persuaded my uncle and another fellow, George Veitch, to help coach a young Campbell football team. With Burkot being from Pennsylvania himself, he felt a couple of hardy exfootball players from the coalfields of Pennsylvania were really needed to kickstart Campbell’s athletic program. For a reason I don’t know, a few years later the Campbell football program was shut down — probably due to financial constraints. Dean Burkot was a sincerely honest man and was quite dedicated during his entire career to helping Campbell grow. That air of dedication came through to nearly everyone who knew him. I feel he made a big difference on what Campbell is today. It almost goes without saying that I regard Dean Burkot as a good man. I’m giving to the Huff Endowment, because he and his wife Florence were my in-laws. Dr. Huff specialized in osteopathic medicine for many years in Tifton, Georgia. I never knew him — he passed away before my wife and I met. As I have been told, he was well known in the community as a dedicated professional and a family person. I knew Florence very well. She was a sincere and graceful person who lived with us for a period of time in Houston, prior to passing away in the late 1980s. As for the Kautzman Engineering Endowment: I graduated from Campbell College in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in geology. Much of my advanced education while in graduate school and in my working career has been oriented toward engineering.

ERIN SCHULTZE (‘14) always knew she wanted to open her own business but she didn’t always know it would be photography. During her time at Campbell, a friend asked her to capture engagement photos around campus. From there her small business grew.

“The photography industry is saturated, so my BBA with a concentration in marketing taught me the importance of a strong brand identity and social media presence. It also taught me to operate a business from filing taxes to forming an LLC. I am so thankful I chose Campbell.” 70 SUMMER 2021

Robert Kautzman, right, with Vice President for Advancement Britt Davis at the 50th reunion celebration for the Class of 1968 during the 2018 graduation week. Photo by Bennett Scarborough

In closing, my boss in Houston, David M. Smith, liked to use a saying, “I dance with those that brought me.” Looking at my career I see many people, things and happenings that influenced me to be the person I am today. Most were the result of hard and dedicated work, being associated with good people that not only wanted to better themselves but help others, and having faith that things tend to happen for the best. While I feel fortunate to have grown up in a good Christian family, my four years at Campbell provided me the basic framework to make me the person I am.

On my visit to Campbell during the reunion, I visited the relatively new School of Engineering. I also listened to a fine presentation by Dr. Jenna Carpenter and her staff on engineering school and their on-going programs, near-term plans and future. I felt there was much potential for the young department and its growth.

I look at Campbell today as an observer, through their fundraising programs, the manner they addressed the pandemic, their different schools and curriculum, sports programs and even looking at all the smiling faces on Instagram — and I am happy to say I have been a part of that growth in some form or fashion.

Also, in looking at Campbell University’s overall program, they appear to have a lot of viable programs in the areas of law, financing, medicine, liberal arts, religion and sciences.

It was not a difficult decision to make that I personally wanted to help Campbell and its students in their future growth. Also, it is important to understand that my wife, Harriet, while not a Campbell graduate, has fully supported my desire to do this. I could go on and on about how much she has supported me during our almost 50 years of marriage and no question in my mind I owe her big time.

It is my belief that to help complete an overall curriculum to make Campbell a viable diversified university, the school needs to grow in the area of engineering. For that reason, I chose supporting an endowment that not only provides an opportunity for the awarding of scholarships, but also for the purchase of equipment.

Without her, I would also never be what I am today.

NOV 17, 2021

GIVING DAY Ad Astra Per Aspera, to the stars through difficulties.


or over 134 years, we’ve been helping students aim to the stars. Our history reminds us that we’ve never been able to do this alone.

On #CAMPBELLGIVINGDAY, Nov. 17, proudly put on your Campbell orange and make a gift to support future Camels in their education endeavors. In honor of our University’s founding year, we are striving for 1,887 gifts. Help us complete the Campbell Leads campaign, and make your gift on Campbell Giving Day. Every gift to support our students in their educational endeavors makes a positive impact on the Campbell community, now and for generations to come.


Enrolling more North Carolinians than any other private school, Campbell University is the private university of choice in North Carolina. We remain true to J.A. Campbell’s vision since he founded the school in 1887. His vision, in his own words: “to educate leaders.” Through the C A MP B E L L M AG AZ I N E 71 Campbell Leads campaign, we seek support to provide opportunities for students to continue to develop quality leadership skills and experiences during their time on campus.


From death, a life lesson


y youngest son looked up at me as we sat on the floor — our hands stroking the fur of our family dog as he took his final breaths — and told me that until that moment, he’d never seen me cry before.

paper towel rolls he’d steal from trash cans. He would keep us up all night any time a thunderstorm rolled in, he shed what seemed like an entire extra dog’s worth of hair every day, and he managed to poop no fewer than three times per walk in our neighborhood. We had to carry entire rolls of bags in preparation.

His face was a mixture of sadness and confusion. He understood the weight of the moment — we rescued Miles nearly 14 years ago, years before our three children became part of the equation, and on this day we were saying our final goodbyes to a member of our family. But he also didn’t expect to see his old man let his guard down and show this much emotion.

He was 2 when our daughter was born. Her arrival brought about a change in Miles (aside from the pooping and fear of storms). He went from walking hurricane to gentle nanny almost immediately. He didn’t mind having his ears tugged and his fur ripped out by babies and toddlers. He became their pillow as they learned to sit up and their safety net as they learned to walk.

So I smiled at him, through sniffles.

Miles’ final months were difficult. He coughed a lot. He lost weight. In the final weeks, he had trouble walking.

“Oh, I’m pretty sure you have,” I told him as my mind raced to remember when that could have been. But the “when” was unimportant. The “now” was. And as our Miles passed away barely a minute after the final shot from our veterinarian — he’d been battling tumors for months, and the pain had become too much — we all lost an important part of our lives. My sadness wasn’t as much about my own grief as it was watching my wife fight through tears and watching my children overcome fear, uncertainty and their own sadness to be there for a very difficult moment. The youngest — our 7-year-old — didn’t cry so much as he observed. I feel like seeing his family come together and share very raw emotions is what he’ll remember most from that moment. _________ Miles was a big, goofy dog my wife and I found in a Sanford animal shelter back in 2007. We actually went to the shelter to see his sister, a shy, fluffy pup whose cuteness was irrisistible. We adored her, but when her brother came into the room — carrying a strut not found in most puppies and a “who cares” attitude — we were in love. We took Miles home that day.

We gave our kids the option of not being in the room for his final moments. They all chose to stay and be with him until the end. To be his pillow as he fell asleep one final time. _________ I learned a lot about my family that day. I learned that while I hope for nothing but joy, happiness and love in their lives, my children will have the strength to face the tough moments and handle grief. I learned that my wife and I are raising three strong children who know what it is to be loved and to give love. And, in the case of my youngest at least, they learned something about me. Those tears he saw for the first time weren’t just for Miles. I was touched by the moment — the stories we shared of Miles’ terror as a pup and of his loyalty to the end. May we all have opportunties to be there for our loved ones in their final moments and let them know how truly loved and appreciated they were in life. And may we all feel that love when it’s our time to face the end.

Within a month, he destroyed a couch. In those first three years, he managed to destroy multiple couches and chairs, as well as our entire backyard (he liked to dig) and an infinite number of toilet paper and

72 SUMMER 2021

Billy Liggett | Editor


1969: The McKay House Council at Campbell College posed for a uniquely 60s photo for that year’s Pine Burr Yearbook. From left, House Council President Edith Coggin, Mary Phelps, Sandra Garrett, Donna Rosser and Mary Ann Pernell. The ‘69 Pine Burr is full of quality photography from students Willis Peele, Butch Pinson, Albert Matthews and Bobbi Williford.

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