Celebration of Giving
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Giving is the theme of this edition of Campbell Magazine, and no building on campus symbolizes the generosity of the Campbell University community than the Oscar N. Harris Student Union, built in 2020 on the back of the five-year, $105.7 million Campbell Leads campaign. More than $32 million of the campaign went toward capital projects, and roughly $25 million of that went toward the construction of the 110,000-square-foot union, which now serves as the centerpiece of main campus and the social hub for thousands of students. Photo by Ben Brown
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SPRING 2022 | VOLUME 17 | ISSUE 1
J. Bradley Creed VICE PRESIDENT FOR INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT
ASSISTANT VICE PRESIDENT FOR COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING
Haven Hottel ’00
_____________________________________ DIRECTOR OF NEWS & PUBLICATIONS & MAGAZINE EDITOR
28 COVER STORY
28 Celebration of Giving
On April 1, Campbell University invited more than 300 donors and friends of the University to campus for a black-tie gala celebrating the successful five-year $105.7 million Campbell Leads campaign. Our cover story tells the stories of those who gave and the students who have benefited because of their generosity. FEATURES
14 Stand With Ukraine Dr. Oleg Alekseev, a professor for the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine, talks about his struggles and his hope while watching the invasion of his native Ukraine from half a world away.
54 THE COVER Artist and Campbell alumna Kaela McCoy created the cover in this edition. A 2017 graduate who worked in admissions for five years after earning her degree, McCoy painted the newly complete Academic Circle to honor the completion of the Campbell Leads campaign. More of her work can be found online on Etsy @kaelamade.
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16 Carry That Weight Sophomore shortstop Zach Neto entered the 2022 season with big expectations after earning Big South Conference Player of the Year as a freshman in 2021. Neto, who many are saying can go in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft this summer, has embraced the pressure and is turning in another big year.
54 Shared Experiences Her undergraduate degree in psychology and her master’s degree in counseling have made Alex Baumann (‘15) a great listener. She’s putting that skill to use as the director of communications for the Office of Alumni Engagement, serving as the liaison for Campbell University’s growing alumni base.
Alex Baumann, Ben Brown, Jon Caroulis, Bennett Scarborough, Kate Stoneburner _____________________________________ 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 2022 edition. Campbell University publishes Campbell Magazine three times a year. The University affirms its standing policy of nondiscrimination in employment and in all of its programs and activities, with respect to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, religion, ethnicity or national origin, disability, genetic information, protected veteran status, military status and any other characteristic protected by law, except where exemption is appropriate and authorized by law.
FROM THE PRESIDENT
The two words needed to make any fundraising campaign a success
ne of my favorite definitions of a university president is someone who lives in a big house on campus and begs people for money. Our home on campus is modest in size, but attractive and comfortable. I don’t beg people for money, though fundraising is an essential part of my job. To some people, fundraising is a mystery about which they are curious and often puzzled. Academic colleagues tell me that fundraising is one of the reasons they never want to be an administrator. They give other objections, too, but the thought of asking someone for a six-figure gift to a fundraising campaign seems unseemly, whether beneath their dignity or beyond their capacity. I have known presidents who were not reticent about touting their credentials as fundraisers. Some of them, I discovered
upon closer inspection, raised just enough to begin a capital project, or launch a new program, but didn’t cover sufficiently the costs of construction or operation and consequently put their institutions into enormous debt. Others are exceptional fundraisers, usually the ones who aren’t bragging about their accomplishments. They know that fundraising is not a solo performance. It’s a team effort. We presidents harvest fruit from trees others have planted, and hopefully plant seeds and saplings whose bounty others will gather. I have been involved in fundraising in higher education for more than 30 years, but I don’t consider myself a great fundraiser. I have participated in several successful fundraising campaigns in several organizations, but the key to success wasn’t the president, or a capable, dedicated advancement team like we have here at Campbell.
The key to successful fund raising is generous donors. Generous donors like you are the reason for the largest and most successful fundraising campaign in Campbell’s history. You understand that value is more important than cost, so you pay the price to support something you truly believe in that will endure long after your days on this earth. You believe in a calling higher than your own interests and a purpose greater than your own success. Through your gifts, you have made possible a life-transforming experience — a Campbell University education. Fundraising is an essential role for a university president, but the last responsibility of a leader is to say thank you. Thank you for helping me do my job and making my job possible. Thank you for making it possible for students to have the opportunity so many of you were afforded when you attended Campbell. Thank you for stepping up and supporting our university in such a compelling way, especially during a time of unprecedented challenge and duress caused by a global pandemic. And thank you for continuing the legacy of the past and preparing the way for the future which, with supporters like you, is indeed promising and bright.
President J. Bradley Creed speaks at the April 1 gala celebrating the successful five-year Campbell Leads campaign as Ben Thompson, Patrice Thompson and Bob Barker look on.
President Campbell University
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FOCUS | PRISON EDUCATION
WHAT’S NEXT? A chance at an education is life changing for students in Campbell’s prison program
’ve attended dozens of graduations, including my own Campbell commencement, which took place on a very hot day in May in Academic Circle. Each graduation day is special, full of excitement and anticipation. Families filling Gore Arena and cheering as their students file in. Part of my role at Campbell is to welcome our newest alumni into the Alumni Association. I’m usually behind the scenes at graduation and have the opportunity to talk to the graduates as they’re lining up, taking selfies with friends and fixing their cords and gowns. I enjoy asking the million-dollar question … What’s next? Graduation day, Aug. 31, 2021, was different. I was nervous. This graduation would take place at Sampson Correctional Institute, a medium security prison where Campbell’s N.C. Higher Education in Prisons program launched two years prior. COVID-19 and security measures limited the number of guests who could attend, but I was hopeful I’d be able to. Behind two wired gates, escorted in by armed guards, I got to meet our students for the first time. It was surreal, really, and in its own way was filled with the same excitement as the other Campbell graduations I have attended.
“What these students are working toward — in addition to their degrees — is an improved and better ‘what’s next,’ not only for themselves, but for their families.” 4 SPRING 2022
The Fall 2021 edition of Campbell Magazine took an in-depth look at the first cohort of students taking part in Campbell’s N.C. Higher Education in Prisons program at Sampson County Correctional Facility in Clinton.
I watched the room and took it all in. A lot of it was familiar. University faculty wore their regalia, Campbell academic banners were placed throughout the room and graduation programs listed each student’s name. But the differences couldn’t be ignored. For the first time in years, these men wore dress clothes instead of their brown prison jumpsuits. They stood tall in their graduation gowns, and their smiles displayed a sense of accomplishment. They walked with dignity and pride. Still, I was nervous. I desperately wanted to talk to the men whose essays I had read and academic successes I had written about in grant proposals. I knew their work, but I didn’t know them. What would I even say? How could I ask, “What’s next?” to students who would remain incarcerated for several more years? How short-sighted that was of me to think only in the immediate “here and now.” What these students are working toward — in addition to their degrees — is an improved and better “what’s next,” not only for themselves, but for their families. Studies have shown that children who have had a parent in prison are three times more likely to go to prison themselves. The impact of incarceration is generational, but so is the impact of a quality education. Campbell offered that. I started working on funding for this program in December 2020. The program is 100-percent operated by University and donor funding. Incarcerated individuals earn $1 a day working in various jobs within their facilities and cannot pay tuition. Campbell started this program with the generous support of the Bob Barker Company Foundation, the Sunshine Lady Foundation and the John W. Pope Foundation.
As the students thrived while working on their Associates of Sciences in Behavioral Sciences, they, too, were asking, “What’s next?” Again, Campbell stepped up with an answer. We currently have 10 students working on their bachelor’s degree, a new cohort of 14 in our Associates program and a new site location is set to launch in January 2023. Until Aug. 31, 2021, I had not met these 11 students, but working in philanthropy allows one to become an advocate, in their own way. I get the opportunity to advocate for these students, this program and for Campbell. Education proves to set a transformational path for those who take advantage of it. These men are making the most of this opportunity and making their own path to “what’s next?” and I’m proud to be one of their many advocates. By the way, I did get the courage to introduce myself to them. We talked about their time within the program and what they enjoyed most about it. And thankfully, I got to welcome them into the Alumni Association, as I have at so many Campbell graduations before this. Sarah Swain is assistant vice president for alumni engagement at Campbell University and a 2005 alumna. Swain was instrumental in securing funding for the N.C. Higher Education in Prisons program at Campbell and continues to work to expand the program at Sampson and throughout the state.
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Campbell Magazine Editor Billy Liggett wrote in the Fall 2021 edition about his experience learning Texas history while in seventh grade and how events like The Battle of the Alamo were taught more from a patriotic perspective than a historical one. The column garnered several letters from alumni and readers. Some of them are included below:
COLUMN STIRS DEBATE ABOUT HOW WE TEACH OUR HISTORY OUR YOUNG STUDENTS CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH To the Editor: My wife Mary Ellen and I were public school educators in Connecticut before retiring and moving to Gettysburg, Penn., in 2020. Our oldest son Matthew attended Campbell and graduated from the Professional Golf Management program in 2011. We will always be grateful to Campbell University for providing Matthew with an outstanding, thorough and balanced education. Many thanks to the entire Campbell community, and keep up the good work. With that stated, I wanted to comment on how much I enjoyed reading your column, “Sugar-Coated History,” published in the Fall 2021 issue. Your thoughts were well-written, concise and spot on and summed up what is going on in
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America with many parents and politicians questioning and often critical of what they “perceive” is being taught in our schools. Since retiring in 2015, I have had so much “extra” time to nurture my interest in history (mostly U.S. history) and have immersed myself in many books and documentaries. I recently watched a documentary on PBS that told the story of the Freedom Riders in the 60s. The Ken Burns four-part PBS Muhammad Ali documentary was fascinating. After I saw the movie “Hidden Figures,” I tracked down the book and then connected more dots by reading “Katherine Johnson — My Memoir.” Throughout, I often asked myself, “Why didn’t they teach this stuff when I was in high school and college?” Having been a teacher for 37 years and knowing the amazing job that my colleagues
Send us your thoughts on articles in this edition or previous editions of Campbell Magazine by emailing email@example.com
around the country in our elementary and secondary schools are doing, it is refreshing and reassuring to know that students in America today are being exposed to a more complete, accurate and truthful education regarding all things history and social studies in America. I also know that students today are not being taught to feel ashamed or blamed for the terrible transgressions and atrocities that occured in our country’s past. Rather, students today are exposed to these truths so that they can feel proud that they live in a country that eventually gets it right and also makes sure the atrocities, discrimination and injustices of the past are not repeated. Without question, the truth does set us free. DAVID JOHNSON Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
EDITOR’S INBOX UGLY HISTORY STILL WORTH LEARNING ABOUT, FROM To the Editor: I would like to commend you for the quality of Campbell Magazine in general and particularly for your editorial in the 2021 fall issue. I’ve also read “Forget the Alamo” and other less-than-flattering accounts of our nation’s history with slavery and native peoples, and I agree it’s not pretty. But it does help one better understand the racial tension that continues to divide us. I was born and raised in Bunnlevel, North Carolina, where many otherwise kind and earnest people believe only what they hear from their favorite prime time entertainment news anchors demonizing “critical race theory” or any attempt at teaching unflattering history in our schools. It wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve taken some heat for writing “Sugar-Coated History,” and I thank you for standing up for the truth. Your editorial and the cover story on Campbell’s prison teaching initiative make me prouder of Campbell than all the beautiful new buildings on campus.
time. You imply that because Davy Crockett once owned slaves, he is unworthy of praise or recognition and seem to criticize public education generally because it fails to include this disclaimer. You go on to call into question public education in North Carolina. Finally, I noted that you claim you do not wish to sow division in our schools. To be blunt, you clearly do. Critical race theorists like yourself, I suspect, ignore or at best remain willfully ignorant of the true historical record regarding slavery in the United States — we ended it. In truth, slavery was predominantly an African institution which was exported not just to the United States, but to a great many places. In fact, it perpetuates to this very day in some countries. Here, men like Davy Crockett (i.e. white Republicans) ended slavery. If we are going to revise our history books, perhaps we should celebrate our evolution instead of self-condemnation. Frankly, I am proud of our national heritage. God Bless Texas! Regarding your children in North Carolina schools, they will be fine — maybe. DAVID GRAHAM Atlanta, Georgia
ROBERT BYRD (’74) Laguna Hills, California
DISAPPOINTED BY YOUR NEO-REVISIONISTIC APPROACH To the Editor: I read your editorial in the Fall 2021 edition of Campbell Magazine. I think you’re a bit misguided. Most historical texts that I have read on the subject present the Alamo in largely the same context — Texas’ quest for independence. And, of course, they customarily award fair and due credit for the gallantry of the event’s most wellknown protagonist, Davy Crockett. So far as I know, these facts remain largely undisputed, and I fail to grasp your accusation of historical whitewashing on the subject. Your Neo-Revisionistic approach is disappointing. It seems you believe the historical record of the event lacks centricity, and the most useful and relevant examination of the Alamo lies in discrediting Davy Crockett and Texans as a whole because slavery was practiced at the
CULTURES CHANGE SLOWLY; U.S. STILL A GREAT COUNTRY To the Editor: I read your commentary in the Fall 2021 issue of Campbell Magazine and could not agree more. You mentioned you don’t bring up the issues that typically get whitewashed to sow discord, but to bring the truth to people. I agree, people need to think for themselves, but I would add a point that so many people seem to be missing today. We make mistakes individually and as a culture in spite of the fact that our country was founded in a way that gave us the system — and the freedom — to be better than any other system of governing had. We must look at our national and state founders as the complex people who fought for ideas that would outlast them, and these ideals set an inescapable course toward general freedom and prosperity for all, even though not everyone at the time realized it. We have to stop letting people tell us that
our country is bad, because it was founded at the end of the age of slavery in Western cultures. Our system has demonstrated time and again the incredible good it brings to the world, but it is also full of flawed human beings that sometimes lead it in the wrong directions. Cultures change much more slowly than people seem to appreciate. As I think you would agree, understanding the bad that comes with the good and striving to learn from that while advocating for the loftier ideals is what made — and continues to make — the U.S. the great hope of oppressed people throughout the world. I hope it continues to do so, though I am not as confident about that as I used to be. MATT ROWE (’97) Carmel, Indiana
SHEDDING NEEDED LIGHT To the Editor: I’m a Campbell grad and now a family doctor. Thank you so much for your article “SugarCoated History.” This is so important, and it means a lot to me to see it in a publication from my alma mater. I’m a native North Carolinian and only learned about the Wilmington massacre within the last year or two. Here’s hoping this will be part of our education in the future. Thank you, again, for shedding some much-needed light. TIFFANY CAGLE (’09)
WHITEWASHED HISTORY To the Editor: I greatly enjoyed your editorial about “Sugar-Coated History.” As a Hispanic, I do feel that growing up in the public school system, I received the whitewashed American version of history. I also greatly enjoyed the “Beyond Bars” article — as a suggestion it would be great if at the end of the article you include a website link for those that want to learn more about the program, it is definitely something that piqued my interest. DAVID WILLIAMS
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The College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences held its annual CPHS Excellence Awards in April at the Oscar N. Harris Student Union ballroom to recognize individuals and groups who have made significant contributions to promoting and enhancing the College, the University and surrounding community. Photo by Bennett Scarborough
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AROUND AROUNDCAMPUS CAMPUS
HEAD OF THE CLASS
Campbell Football’s 2022 recruiting class ranks as the No. 1 FCS class in the nation, according to both Rivals and 247Sports. The Camels are welcoming in 11 signees with three- or four-star designations, and one ranking has Campbell with three of the nation’s top 11 FCS signees, four of the top 26 and five of the top 37. To put it in an even bigger perspective, Campbell out-recruited several FBS programs this year, including Western Kentucky, South Florida, Liberty, Arizona State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Bowling Green.
10 YEAR SACSCOC ACCREDITATION
Campbell University received notification in December that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges reaffirmed the school’s accreditation to award associate, baccalaureate, masters and doctorate degrees. “The process of reaffirmation is rigorous and thorough. I am especially grateful to our accreditation team for their dedication and efforts which have led to this successful outcome.” — President J. Bradley Creed
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NEW DPT DIRECTOR Dr. Bradley Myers was named chair/director of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program in March. His clinical experience includes the management of complex musculoskeletal dysfunctions. “Dr. Myers is highly regarded for his clinical expertise as well as his dynamic and engaging classroom style,” said Dr. Wesley Rich, associate dean.
HIGH MERIT X 2 “I’ve always just been attracted to 20th Century history. I think it’s incredibly interesting how social progress in the West seems inextricably linked with social harm ... that link of ‘evil’ and ‘good’ is fascinating to me.” — Senior English major and Howard Student Research Fellow Callen Toscano, was recipient of two “high merit” honors (the only student to earn two) at the 12th annual Wiggins Memorial Library Academic Symposium in March. Toscano was awarded for his oral presentations on the CIA involvement in 1954 Guatemala and for “Fascist Flirtations,” a presentation on the discrepancies between high modernist and contemporary literary reactions to right-wing authoritarianism. EXPOSURE: See our photo gallery at campbelledu.exposure.co
QUOITS, ANYONE? Law School Dean J. Rich Leonard introduced students to “quoits,” and old game that is a mix of horseshoes and corn hole, this spring. Inspired by research into Chief Justice John Marshall’s life — specifically the time he spent in Raleigh — Leonard resurrected the tradition by supplying quoits and quoit boards for the law school community. “His absolute favorite pastime was playing quoits ... and when he came to Raleigh, he played with locals in the street outside the boarding house where he stayed, a couple of blocks from the law school.”
The women’s golf team won its sixth consecutive Big South Golf Championship and entered NCAA regional play ranked 38th nationally
11 25 Serenity Wiles, a senior communication studies major in the College of Arts & Sciences, was selected as a 2022 recipient of a Top Paper Award from the National Communication Association’s Lambda Pi Eta student organization. At the 2022 Southern States Communication Association Annual Convention in Greenville, South Carolina, Wiles presented her winning research: “Trapped and Small: An Autoethnographic Journey of Identity and Caring to Guardian Ad Litem.”
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IN HIGH DEMAND Campbell University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program reported a 100-percent job placement rate from its most recent graduating class, according to program director and chair Dr. Stacy Wise. Nurses are in high demand nationwide, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration, which reports 16 states (including N.C. and S.C.) will likely experience a nursing shortage through 2025
The School of Engineering’s NASA Human Exploration Rover team was one of 11 teams in North Carolina to earn an NC Space Grant
Campbell Law School is ranked among the 25 most innovative law schools in the country (recognized for its innovation in legal technology), according to PreLaw Magazine The Trust Education Foundation and Campbell University hosted their 31st annual Trust Advisors Forum in Pinehurst this spring, with 265 senior trust managers and 40 graduating seniors on hand Campbell’s baseball team scored 36 runs in its 36-4 route of Big South foe Presbyterian College on March 27. The 36 runs are the most in an NCAA game this season, and the Camels tied an NCAA record with two grand slams in an inning Campbell’s Student National Medical Association chapter hosted 99 North Carolina high school students for its Helping students Understand the Medical Profession (HUMP) Day in February Athanas Kioko earned second team All-America honors in the 3,000-meter run at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field National Championships in Alabama in March. The senior is now a four-time All-American runner at Campbell CAMPBELL UNIVERSITY 11
THE 5TH BEATLES’ CONNECTION TO CAMPBELL The late Billy Preston was trending over the winter because of his appearance on the popular “Beatles: Get Back” documentary on Disney+. Preston was a late addition to the “Let It Be” album, and his fine work on the keyboard elevated several songs on the Beatles’ final album. As reported in Campbell Magazine’s “Camelpalooza” feature in the Spring 2016 edition, Preston actually played a concert in Buies Creek back in 1973 during a solo tour sandwiched between tours with George Harrison and Eric Clapton. His setlist that year included covers of “Day Tripper” and “Let it Be” and Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord.”
RECORD CROWD Campbell’s reigning Big South Conference tournament champion softball team played before the largest crowd ever at Amanda Littlejohn Stadium when 634 fans packed the bleachers at the renovated field to see the Fighting Camels take on UNC-Chapel Hill. Photo by Bennett Scarborough
HISTORIC SEASON somethingaboutthebeatles.com
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Campbell volleyball enjoyed its best season in program history with its first Big South Conference tournament win and first trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Camels went 21-10 in the regular season and 14-2 in conference play, beating High Point in the conference finals to make history. The season came to an end with a first-round NCAA tournament loss to Nebraska in front of a capacity crowd of more than nearly 8,000 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln.
FAMILY OF THE YEAR Family Weekend in April brought in more than 100 families to Buies Creek for a weekend showcasing the best of Campbell academics, athletics and events. The 2022 Family of the Year was the Pollard family from Chesapeake, Virginia — father Bill, mother Lou and daughter Betsy, a junior. The Pollards were recognized during the weekend’s dinner mixer and worship service, and the family had the honor of throwing out the first pitch at the baseball game against Presbyterian College at Jim Perry Stadium.
TWITTER @campbellgiving Congratulations to the 1st place #CampbellTAGDay video contest winner, Kari Staples! Kari is especially thankful for the donors who support our health science programs.
Master of Divinity hybrid The Divinity School’s Master of Arts in Christian Ministry degree will be offered in a cohort-based, retreatanchored online model starting this fall, specializing in specific areas of ministry while offering a foundation in theological education. Mask mandate removed Campbell reduced mask requirements indoors on all campuses on Feb. 25, changing the face covering policy from “required” to “optional” two years after the start of the pandemic.
@gocamelsFB Our full 2022 schedule is here! #RollHumps
FACEBOOK Campbell University Feb. 28 Alumnus Jeremiah McLamb’s Orange Owned JerFilm Productions and Campbell University won three Emmy Awards on Saturday from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Nashville/MidSouth Chapter for the video, “Ad Astra Per Aspera,” created to promote the Campbell Leads campaign and Giving Day.
@campbelledu Dr. Dennis Bazemore is the school’s 2022 recipient of the North Carolina Baptist Heritage Award, which recognizes those who represent exemplary service and giving.
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“They work in the hospitals, and, yes, they’re worried. They hear the explosions. They see the violence,” Alekseev says. “But they continue to work, because somebody has to.” As of April 2, more than 1,400 Ukrainian civilians (153 children) have been killed as a result of the Russian Federation’s armed attack, according to the Office of the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights. And while no official count of Ukrainian soldiers killed in action has been released, some estimate the country has lost thousands of military personnel since the war began.
Photo by Jebb Graff
And recent images of at least 20 bodies strewn across the street and civilians executed with their hands tied behind their backs in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha have captured the world’s attention, sparking global outrage and allegations of genocide and war crimes at Russian President Vladimir Putin.
DR. OLEG ALEKSEEV
STAND FOR UKRAINE Med school professor shares his optimism, struggles as he watches invasion of his homeland from afar
t’s been months now since Russia invaded Ukraine, and in that time, images and video coming from the warzone have revealed a veritable hell on Earth for the men, women and children caught in the crossfire.
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Dr. Oleg Alekseev lives 5,000 miles from his native Ukraine, but he’s living the war every day through regular contact with family members who stayed behind. His mornings for the past eight weeks have begun with a call to his 80-year-old mother-in-law who chose to stand her ground despite having a valid U.S. visa and family who could take her in. “She says, ‘This is my house, and this is where I’m supposed to be,’” Alekseev says. “She says, ‘I was born in a war, and if God decides that I’m going to die in a war, then I will die here.’ She’s a pediatrician, and even at 80, she’s helping people there. She’s a hero there.” The same goes for his brother-in-law and nephew — like Alekseev, they’re all doctors, and they’re all staying behind out of sense of duty and service to their fellow countrymen.
It’s a daily heartbreak for Alekseev, professor of physiology and pathophysiology for the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine at Campbell University. Alekseev was born just outside of Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine, and he earned his medical degree and Ph.D. in human anatomy from Kyiv Medical University. He taught at the same university, in addition to Ukraine’s Uzhgorod State University, Moscow People’s Friendship University in Russia, Hokkaido University in Japan, the University of Iowa and UNC-Chapel Hill before coming to Campbell in 2013 when the University launched its med school. In Alekseev’s last year of medical school in 1986, Ukraine experienced history’s worst nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl — a disaster that led to the evacuation of 49,000 people and thousands of exposure-related deaths in the years that followed. Alekseev lived just 25 miles from the site, and he and other young men his age were
SPOTLIGHT | WAR IN UKRAINE “drafted” by the nation’s government and sent there to help people cope with radiation exposure — an experience that remains vivid to this day. Before the Russian invasion in February, Ukraine had not experienced this level of violence in 80 years since World War II. Then, the majority of Ukrainians fought in the Red Army against Nazi Germany, which occupied the country in 1941. Between 5 and 7 million died during the war — including 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews — a loss of roughly 15 percent of the nation’s total population. The years and decades that followed the Great War marked an era of postwar reconstruction, and industrial and agricultural production wouldn’t reach pre-war levels until the late 1950s and early 1960s. Alekseev grew up in a Ukraine under Soviet rule — the western part of the nation grew to become more European in nature, while the east remained more Russian-oriented in culture and language. Alekseev says it was a great place to grow up and raise a family — a country with black soil so rich that “you can stick anything in it, and it will grow,” and a humidity-free climate so great that “I couldn’t even imagine there could be something different in the world,” he says. “Last summer, we had a surge of tourists from the United Arab Emirates, and they were surprised at how green everything was,” he recalls. “And it was amazing for them, and amazing to me, because I never imagined tourists from that part of the world would want to come to Ukraine.” His biggest pride point in his native country is its patriotism — which even amid horrible violence and the atrocities of war, has been on display all over the world since February. “The people are historically patriotic,” he says. “And you are seeing that patriotism on display.” Not just in the resolve of a young president, Volodymyr Zelensky, who has become a global symbol of leadership and bravery in the shadow of a much larger invading nation, but also in the millions of civilians who chose to stay — many of whom have taken up arms and trained to protect themselves and their neighbors.
Depositphotos, a Kyiv-based content platform that provides stock photos, graphics and videos, is trying to combat propaganda by releasing a dedicated image collection to show the reality of what’s happening on the ground in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The photos, which number in the thousands, are being circulated on editorial websites and publications around the world. (Clockwise, from top left) A family hides from shelling in a subway in Kharkiv in March; a man stands near a destroyed apartment building in Kharkiv; the results of a military attack on the residential area of the city of Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk; a little girl holding a woman’s hand clutches a doll at the Uzhhorod-Vysne Nemecke checkpoint on the Ukraine-Slovakia border; and a soldier of the Armed Forces of Ukraine at a checkpoint near Kharkiv. Photos: depositphotos.com
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SPOTLIGHT | WAR IN UKRAINE “Those who think this will end with our people saying, ‘OK, we will live in Russia,’ it’s not going to end like that. We won’t give up. I predict a very, very long fight — a guerilla war against 18- and 20-year-old Russian boys who don’t even want to be there.”
Two weeks after the start of the invasion, Alekseev was sitting in his office in the nursing building when he got a call that he was needed next door in the medical school. Thinking it was some sort of academic emergency or surprise meeting, he hurried
The support from his students and colleagues helps, and support is arriving in other forms as well. Alekseev shows a picture of him, his wife (a scientist for Pfizer), his son and his daughter-in-law holding the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag at a rally in Raleigh — an event that drew Ukrainians, Americans, Georgians and, yes, Russians who oppose the invasion. Another photo shows a table full of floral arrangements at his home, brought to them by neighbors and friends. Alekseev is a proud Ukrainian, and he is a proud American. He is proud to see many Americans support strong sanctions against Russia and accept higher gas prices while supporting a ban on Russian oil. Through early April, the U.S. and other NATO countries have kept their troops out of Ukraine to prevent a world war but have backed Zelensky and the country’s military with weaponry and other forms of aid. But the potential for an international conflict involving Western nations is very real. On April 5, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley told Congress that Russia’s invasion is “the greatest threat to world peace and security of Europe and perhaps the world” in the last 40-plus years. Alekseev said he understands the U.S.’s careful approach, but he cautions Americans who think a war 5,000 miles away has no effect on life in the western hemisphere.
Students in the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine surprised Dr. Oleg Alekseev in March, just days after the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with a show of support in the form of flowers and a handmade Ukrainian flag. Alekseev says the support he and his family have received since March has been overwhelming.
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across the health sciences campus only to find a group of students in the lobby of Levine Hall, holding a makeshift Ukrainian flag with the words “We support you” written across it. Touched by the sentiment and the show of support, Alekseev was at a loss for words. The previous days had taken a toll on him mentally. “We had a thunderstorm recently, and it woke me up and woke my whole family up … I think, ‘Oh, the Russians are bombing us,’ because we are so in that mindset. Maybe somebody is shooting,” he says. “We stay up until 1 a.m. some nights because we’re checking CNN or checking Ukrainian sources. We call family first thing in the morning to make sure everybody is OK. It’s terrible for all of us. I never thought it would be so difficult to cope with.”
“Five thousand miles is a long way, but 20 miles off the coast of Wilmington is not,” he says, referring to the 2019 incident when a Russian spy ship was spotted in international waters off the North Carolina coast. “I’ve been trying to put myself in the shoes of the people who are making decisions. If I’m President Biden, it’s easy to just say, ‘Close the skies in Ukraine,’ but that means having to shoot down Russian planes. And Putin said very clearly that if somebody is helping Ukraine, it’s the same as declaring war, with all the consequences. So it’s not an easy decision. “But Putin is also like every bully out there. Let’s say he destroys Ukraine — tomorrow, it’s Poland. After that, it’s the Baltic states. And if you start a war, there will be a nuclear attack, and it will be endless.”
It’s Alekseev’s opinion that the United Nations has become weak, and the U.S. has become less of a “world leader” over the years. He points to the country’s handling of its removal of troops from Afghanistan, and he sees mistakes in its handling of Russia and Ukraine. Again, he understands the decision not to fight, but he’d like to see more vigorous sanctions. “Ukraine had to lose its nuclear weapons, with a promise of being protected. Today, that sounds like a joke,” Alekseev says. There are a lot of different opinions and ideas of the way the U.S. and its international allies should handle Russia and its invasion of the second largest country in Europe, and Alekseev understands that he’s just one man with one opinion. But experience matters, and the opinion of native Ukrainians like Alekseev — who’s living the nightmare through family and friends and constant media reports of death and destruction. “Ukrainians and Americans, we are all on the same boat,” he says. “We are fighting for the future of the planet and for the future of humanity.” Alekseev recalls a phone call with his mother-in-law the night before sharing his story and his thoughts. As usual, he and his wife expressed their worry about her safety. He’s been sending money to his family regularly since the start of the invasion, but there’s still a feeling of helplessness. “She tells us she put a mattress over the toilet. Why? Because if something falls on it, it would destroy it. She’s put tape on her windows. Why? So it won’t shatter if there’s an explosion outside. There’s a mattress in the hallway. Why? Because if there is shooting outside, she can go to that safe place and not be near any windows,” he says. “We don’t know what else to do to help, but she knows what she’s doing. She’s the most sober thinking, balanced person in this situation. “She was born during World War II. She’s strong. She’ll be OK.”
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has become both an opportunity for Campbell University students to learn more about and discuss current events and an opportunity for faculty and staff to show their support and serve their fellow man. (Top) Dr. Oleg Alekseev and his family hold a Ukrainian flag during a support rally in downtown Raleigh in March. (Center left) Campbell Law School’s Immigration and Refugee Rights Project students hosted a clinic for more than 20 Ukrainian immigrants to discuss aid they qualify for and assist their families in making decisions on United States humanitarian law. (Center right) Campbell Law School’s SBA Wellness Day activities in April included stuffing bears and plush animals to comfort children on the Polish/Ukraine border. (Bottom) History and political science professors from the College of Arts & Sciences have held two well-attended faculty forums for students on the war in Ukraine and Ukraine-Russia history.
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MIRIAM SHEPPARD MICHAEL VITALE III
DYNAMIC DUO National championship a storybook ending for team of determined trial advocates
hat does a fiercely competitive mother from Snow Hill have in common with a strapping New York former collegiate rugby player? A passion for advocacy competitions, as it turns out, that has developed into a forever friendship. 18 SPRING 2022
Michael Vitale III and Miriam Sheppard with their 2022 South Texas Mock Trial Challenge championship plate, which they brought home to Raleigh in March. Photo by Karl DeBlaker
The duo of Miriam Sheppard, mother to baby girl Genesis, and Mike Vitale III, former forward for the Colgate rugby team, wrapped up their individually stunning advocacy careers at Campbell Law School by winning the South Texas Mock Trial Challenge, hosted by South Texas College of Law in Houston from March 24-27. The team was coached by Associate Dean of Students and Academic Affairs Dan Tilly and Director of Competitive Advocacy Tatiana Terry (’19 Law). Sheppard has worked steadily toward the goal of winning a national championship since joining the Campbell Law Moot Court and Client Counseling teams in 2020. She won the regional competition of the National Appellate Advocacy Moot Court Competition and regional client counseling champion in her second year. She later went on to place third in the
nation at the National Client Counseling Competition. Even after all of this success, Sheppard remained unfulfilled. Her dream was to win a national championship and anything short of that felt like a failure to her. Coincidentally enough, Vitale shared those exact thoughts while on the mock trial team during the same year. In 2020, Vitale was an eager second-year law student on the Hofstra Medical-Legal National Trial Competition team that went on to win the championship, but like Sheppard, he too was unfulfilled. “Winning Hofstra was a true privilege, but I wanted more,” he said. “Each day, I would walk into the Advocacy Suite and stare at the trophies of those who had come before me in our program. I wanted to be the same example for those who would come
after me … to compete against the best of the best, advocate in a championship round and have my teammates trust that I could get the job done.” Vitale then hit a roadblock in 2021 where he placed second twice in the American Association of Justice Student Trial Advocacy Regional Competition and National Trial Competition. His disappointment transitioned into determination to prepare for his final year at Campbell Law. In the Fall of 2021, Terry became director of competitive advocacy and held mock trial tryouts that August. Everyone expected to see Vitale at tryouts, and he did not disappoint. But no one expected to see Sheppard … except for Associate Dean Dan Tilly. “Miriam took my evidence class in 2020, and she was absolutely brilliant,” Tilly said. “I asked her to serve as my teaching assistant and during one of our meetings preparing for class, I asked her if she was interested in joining the mock trial team.” Sheppard, already a member of two advocacy teams, contemplated this idea, but she had recently become a mother and felt the task of serving as a tri-advocate would be too much to bear. She originally made the decision not to tryout. Tilly was persistent. “Dean Tilly spent a week trying to persuade me to tryout for the team, and ultimately I said yes after watching him do a cross-examination demonstration in his evidence class,” Sheppard said. “And I am so grateful that I did.”
“We never told Mike and Miriam this, but we truly had no idea what to expect when placing them on the same team together,” Tilly said. “Miriam had never done mock trial before, but she was clearly of championship caliber based upon her performance on moot court and client counseling. Mike had established courtroom success as a second-year student on the mock trial team, but now we were requiring that he swing as an advocate on both sides of the case. We thought they could do well, but TOC is a competition with some of the best schools in the nation, so we also knew it was a risk. “Individually, they are tremendous advocates with unlimited potential. The question was how well they would work together and whether their very different, individual styles would harmonize well.” After the preliminary rounds in TOC, Campbell Law emerged as one of the top teams, going 4-0. In the first round, Campbell faced Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. After the first round, judges acknowledged the advocates’ command of the courtroom and mastery of the rules of evidence. The team went on to face teams from Baylor Law School,
Wake Forest University School of Law and Loyola Marymount University School of Law — all well-known as some of the finest advocacy schools in the country. Sheppard and Vitale defeated all of these teams in succession. After advancing to the final four, the two presented a strong case in the semi-final round against a tough University of California Berkeley School of Law team. Campbell was narrowly defeated by four points on split ballots. The team placed in the competition as semi-finalists — a terrific result, but one Sheppard was disheartened by. “As Kobe Bryant said, ‘I hate losing as much as I love winning,’ so that loss after working tirelessly to develop my trial skills was tough,” she said. They competed in the National Trial Competition in February and finished as regional finalists — another second place. The duo was grateful, but still unsatisfied. “I knew these students could win a national championship, and I did not want to fail them,” Terry said. “After the NTC, I called them both and asked them if they would give it one last try and compete at the South Texas Mock Trial Challenge,
Miriam Sheppard and Michael Vitale III with teammates Camille Wrotenbery and Liza Trent and trial advoacy coaches Associate Dean Dan Tilly and Director of Competitive Advocacy Tatiana Terry. Photo by Karl DeBlaker
After the Campbell Law 2021-22 Mock Trial Team was announced, Tilly and Terry were selected as coaches for the school’s invitation to the National Board of Trial Advocacy’s Tournament of Champions — an invitation-only competition that showcases some of the nation’s top law students from 16 of the top trial advocacy institutions. Tilly and Terry spent hours trying to determine which students would be selected to represent Campbell Law in the 2021 competition, and ultimately selected Sheppard and Vitale to serve as Campbell Law’s advocates. At that time, Sheppard and Vitale barely knew each other aside from being members of the same graduating class.
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CAMEL PROFILES coached by Dean Tilly and myself. Without hesitation, they agreed.” After several days of critique from Tilly, Terry (and baby Genesis), Sheppard and Vitale traveled to Houston with their teammates Camille Wrotenbery and Liza Trent, and coaches to compete against roughly 40 of the best trial advocacy law school teams in the country. The two advocated masterfully as attorneys flipping between each round, representing both sides, often on the same day. They again swept their preliminary opponents. One scoring judge commented that she had, “never seen a crossexamination more effective than the one delivered by Mr. Vitale.” After a hard-fought semifinal round against Stetson University School of Law (currently ranked third in the nation), Campbell Law emerged victorious. This win placed Campbell Law in the championship round, marking the fourth time it has competed in the championship round (champions in 2013 and 2015 and runners-up in 2016). In addition to winning this years’ championship, Sheppard and Vitale also won the two top individual awards — a first for Campbell Law. Vitale won the spurs trophy for Best Overall Advocate of the preliminary rounds, and Sheppard won the spurs trophy for Best Advocate in the Championship final round. Vitale got his spurs, and Sheppard finally got her national championship (her spurs were an unexpected added bonus). “I could not be more proud of these advocates,” Tilly said. “They fought through a pandemic, tried cases over Zoom and then won seven straight trials in their first live mock trial competition. And they didn’t just win — they dominated with the best individual awards and championship trophy. This team represents the kind of character, intellect and tenacity we are known for producing.” LISA SNEDEKER, TATIANA TERRY
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Photo by Ben Brown
REV. FAITHE BEAM
THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE Faithe Beam ready to lead school’s student life programs after 20 years of guiding its spiritual well-being
or 20 years, the Rev. Faithe Beam has watched Campbell University grow and its student experience evolve. She’s helped nurture that evolution in her various roles, from student services director for the Divinity School and eventually campus minister and vice
president for spiritual life. This summer, Beam will oversee the student experience as vice president for student life and Christian mission, succeeding Dr. Dennis Bazemore, who announced his retirement after more than 18 years in the role. From extra-curricular activities and event planning to Fraternity and Sorority Life, Spiritual Life and student success programs, the office will continue to mold life outside of the classroom — an increasingly important responsibility as students seek a return to pre-pandemic normalcy. Having the right people in place dedicated to building a community that “supports and encourages students in genuine ways” is vital, Beam says. “I believe students most often remember the people who make up their Campbell
experience — friends, faculty, staff and peers. They remember the people who have invested in them and hold on to experiences they shared with them.” Also important is building a student experience that expresses Campbell’s Christian mission and purpose, adds Beam, also a former Campbell student who earned her Master of Divinity degree in 2003. She says that mission and purpose is most often found in the relationships and community formed during a student’s four years in college. “It is the intangible quality that embodies the student experience. It shows up in how we care for and support one another. It shows up in how we wrestle with deep questions and respond to challenges and crises. “It shows up as students discern their vocation and calling and how they live into their purpose. It shows up in our commitment to serve and make a difference in our communities. And while it looks different for every student, there is freedom to engage the life of faith as part of their college experience. The mission lives and breathes in our community as we share the goodness and grace of God together.” In 2007, Beam was named campus minister at Campbell. In that role, she counseled students, planned freshman Connections seminars, led various ministries on campus and made mission and outreach opportunities accessible for all students and staff. Her passion for service led Beam to introduce the Inasmuch Day of Service to Campbell and other community engagement initiatives, such as the Community Christmas Store, Campus Kitchen, Community Garden and Campus Pantry and Ministry House, to name a few. “She has a deep love for students, she is well respected by our student body and she has grown in her role,” Bazemore said of his successor. “She is well equipped in so many ways to provide leadership in Student Life for years to come, and I am excited for her appointment as the next vice president.” BILLY LIGGETT
CATALYST FOR CHANGE Public health grad wants to alter Black misconceptions, mistrust of health care in rural S.C.
s a student in Campbell’s Master of Science in Public Health program, Sterling Ta’Bon and his classmates had numerous discussions about the social determinants of health, interventions for migrant farmworkers who lack proper protections from chemicals in the fields, and asset mapping to help facilitate community resources available in rural cities like nearby Dunn. These topics, Ta’Bon says, gripped him daily. “I was enlightened by professors who provided me with educational terminology on systemic racism and its effects on the health of minority communities,” he says. “These interactive discussions with my colleagues fanned the flame that was
Photo by Ben Brown
already burning inside of me to be a model health care professional in my community.” After earning his master’s, Ta’Bon returned to his home state of South Carolina — a state he says still “greets” him with Confederate battle flags and other reminders of “potential barriers, biases and perceptions” he faces on a daily basis. As the S.C. Communities of Care coordinator for the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, Ta’Bon has the opportunity to be a catalyst for change. He says it is his mission to be a valuable resource and reliable entity for his community. “As a Black male health professional, I am tasked with mending the relationships of previous decades of distrust between patient and provider,” he says. “The historical misperceptions of health care providers have caused black communities to succumb to higher rates of health disparities including heart disease, cancer, and unintentional accidents. “The representation of Black health care providers has a major role in providing a better quality of life for our entire community, both economically and socially.”
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NETO NETO NETO NETO NETO MAGAZINE.CAMPBELL.EDU
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AROUND CAMEL PROFILES CAMPUS
Photos by Ben Brown
CARRY THAT WEIGHT Great expectations and big league projections followed him after a historic freshman season, but they haven’t slowed down star shortstop 24 SPRING 2022
t wasn’t the start to the 2022 baseball season that Zach Neto and his Camel teammates were hoping for. A 1-6 mark through seven games — hardly the anticipated followup to last season’s Big South regular season championship and impressive performance in the NCAA Regional. Campbell managed to crawl back to a more respectable 6-7 record before its trip to Lynchburg, Virginia, to face a nationally ranked Liberty team riding an 11-game winning streak. It was in Lynchburg where Neto found his stroke, taking pitchers deep three
times in the two-game series, including one 420-plus-foot blast that cleared the “pitcher’s eye” in centerfield. Through April 17, Neto is hitting a team-best .361 with 6 home runs and 21 RBI, and the Camels are sitting alone atop the Big South standings at 11-1 while riding one of the longest winning streaks in the nation (at 12 through Easter Sunday, with eight games in a row scoring 10 or more runs). After the slow start, Campbell is (literally) in mid-season form. Zach Neto is once again a huge reason for the success. He’s doing this despite
pitcher. He hit a stellar .405 with a .746 slugging and .488 on base percentage, and that batting average was good for 13th in the nation (and was second in the nation for players who also pitched). In his 37 Big South games, the numbers were even better — .442 average and an above .500 on base percentage. He was at his best on the biggest stage — the Starkville Regional in Mississippi where Neto hit two home runs in wins over Samford and Virginia Commonwealth, and Campbell came within a run of besting host Mississippi State in the final (the Bulldogs would go on to win it all, with few teams giving them the trouble Campbell presented).
the enormous burden of expectation that followed him after his freshman season. “It’s all about taking what I was able to do last year — and taking the work I put into it over the summer and fall — and making it all translate while also taking on more of a leadership role,” Neto said earlier in the spring, just days before the Camels’ opener. “Last year, I was being brought up by leaders, and it’s on me to fill those boots and be there for this team and for our younger guys.” That freshman season was special, among the best in all of college baseball in 2021. Neto started all 44 games and made starts at shortstop, first, second, third and
At season’s end, the accolades poured in: Big South Player of the Year, Starkville All Tournament Team, NCBWA secondteam All-American, NCBWA second-team Freshman All-American, third-team Baseball America Freshman All-American and ABCA/Rawlings third-team AllAmerican. And before a pitch was thrown in 2022, Neto was tabbed as the preseason Big South Player of the Year and named to the Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list — the winner at year’s end is considered the nation’s top amateur player by USA Baseball.
PODCAST: Listen to our full interview with sophomore AllAmerican shortstop Zach Neto on the Rhymes With Orange podcast. Neto talks about entering his second full year at Campbell with huge expectations and talks about what led him from Miami to Buies Creek. campbelledu.podbean.com
MR. 305 It’s not an official nickname, and it has nothing to do with batting average (it would be too low if it did). 305 is the area code for Miami, Florida, where Zach Neto grew up and where he became an All-American high school baseball player at Coral Park Senior High, home to another famous ballplayer, Jose Canseco.
Neto describes 2021 as a season that just “clicked” for him. He actually made his first appearance in a Camel uniform in 2020, but that season lasted just 16 games before COVID-19 put a halt to all collegiate sports, and Neto played in only three of those games. But he took advantage of the downtime and not only trained, but added muscle to his wiry frame. He entered 2021 a new man. “It took a few games, but once I started getting on a roll and getting multiple hits per game, I feel like that’s when it started to feel like a special year,” he says. “It got to the point where the ball looked
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like a beach ball, and everything I swung at, I was connecting. Suddenly, I’m on a 20-game hit streak, and it’s just all crazy. But what I’ll remember most about the season is how my coaches and my teammates helped me all the way through it and kept me humble about it. I wasn’t thinking about hit streaks or batting averages — I was just going out there and having fun with my teammates. They make it easy for me — it’s just awesome playing with them.” To see where Neto’s game is today, it might surprise some to know he wasn’t exactly “highly touted” by Division 1 baseball programs coming out of high school — this despite being a threetime all-district player and second-team AllAmerican who hit .442 as a junior while playing for the talent-rich Coral Park High School in Miami, the former high school of Major Leaguers Jose and Ozzie Canseco (and high school to music superstar Pitbull).
Under the bill of his ballcap, Zach Neto has the words, “Don’t think. Have fun.” This philosophy has helped the young man many have going early in the upcoming Major League Baseball draft handle high expectations and focus on his game in 2022. Photo by Ben Brown
Campbell recruiters first caught a glimpse of his game at a showcase scrimmage in North Carolina, and they followed him a few weeks later to watch him play in Georgia. Head coach Justin Haire and former assistant Chris Marx (now at Purdue) approached Neto in Georgia to introduce themselves and the Campbell program, which has risen to become one of the best mid-major programs in the country over the last 10 years.
“I was like, ‘Oh, man, this is serious now,’” Neto recalls. “They told me about the program, and then they brought me up a few weeks later for a visit — I was able to see the school and the facilities, and it really opened my eyes. Everything Coach Haire said back in Georgia was true.” Neto says he came to Campbell with a lot of cockiness, and one thing the program has taught him was the importance of relying on teammates and putting the team before the player. Buies Creek was a bit of a culture shock for a kid coming from Miami, but Neto says he fell in love with the school and the town — he enjoys the quiet … it keeps him grounded and “out of trouble.” The 2021 season didn’t end with a Big South tournament win and automatic NCAA bid — Campbell was upset by Presbyterian in the final. But the program still earned an at-large bid (a bit rare for smaller schools), and after an opening game loss to VCU in the Starkville Regional, the Camels went on a bit of an offensive tear with 35 runs in two games before that heartbreaking loss to the national champs in the final game. Neto’s performance in Mississippi — on nationally televised games with scouts everywhere to be seen — got him on a lot of watch lists. Heading into this season, he’s projected to go as high as the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft this summer (should he choose to go pro). If drafted, Neto will join a stable of Camels who’ve got to the next level in recent years — 12 players in the last nine years, with four of them (Matt Marksberry, Jake Smith, Ryan Thompson and Cedric Mullins) seeing big league action. Thompson appeared in the World Series with Tampa, and Mullins was an All-Star starter and had the first 30 home run, 30 stolen base season in Baltimore Orioles history last year. Neto isn’t thinking about the summer or what’s ahead just yet. His team is rolling, and there’s another conference championship to be had and an NCAA regional to win. Written in permanent marker under the bill of his ballcap are the words, “Don’t think. Have fun.” It’s a solid approach to a season where everyone’s watching his every move. “Just compete, have fun with my teammates and don’t let anything get in my head,” he says. “Just take it one day at a time, and whatever happens, happens. And we’re going to be alright.” BILLY LIGGETT
26 SPRING 2022
AROUND CAMPUS from Division I baseball programs after high school. North Carolina Central University, North Carolina A&T and UNC-Asheville were among the programs interested in Harrington, but he chose instead to walk on at nearby Campbell, which has become a regular guest in the NCAA Tournament over the past 10 years. He said he was partially drawn to the program’s success, but more interested in working with the coaching staff at Campbell and being part of the atmosphere. “I’ve only been here about two years, and already, this program feels like a group of 40 best friends. It’s just awesome here,” he says. “The atmosphere is awesome, and the standard we’re held to is awesome. The academics are great. All of that went into my decision.”
Photo by Ben Brown
Harrington knew coming in that he had the talent to not only make the squad, but contribute. He figured he would spend his first season coming out of the bullpen and giving an inning or two when needed. But just days before the beginning of the 2021 season, Harrington learned he was being penciled in as the Sunday starter — third in the rotation.
MR. FRIDAY NIGHT Just as sophomore, Campbell’s ace is putting together a historic season and getting Major League attention
homas Harrington breezed through the first four batters in Appalachian State’s lineup on Opening Day before facing a familiar foe in former Southern Lee High School teammate (and his former catcher) Hayden Cross. Cross, no stranger to Harrington’s approach on the mound, drilled a single up the middle and gave Campbell’s ace a
wink after he reached first base. “Yeah, I knew he was sitting on a fastball, and I just took my chance,” Harrington says with a grin. “He swung and connected. I guess I’d rather give up a hit to him than anyone else.” Harrington didn’t give up a hit to anyone else. In six innings of work in his 2022 debut, Harrington allowed just the one hit, hit another batter and struck out a career-high 13 Pioneers in the Camels’ 9-0 win. It was a stellar outing — in front of several Major League scouts sitting in the stands at Jim Perry Stadium — for the defending Big South Freshman of the Year and the conference’s pre-season Pitcher of the Year. The expectations are big for a young man who, despite a stellar career at his high school in Sanford, received minimal looks
This year, he’s the ace. The Game 1 starter for each Big South series. Mr. Friday night. And he’s answered the call, big time. Through 10 games, as of April 22, Harrington is 9-1 with a 1.25 ERA. He’s struck out 93 batters in 65 innings and walked only 12. Four times already, he’s been named the Big South Pitcher of the Week. And in just his sophomore season, there’s talk of him going in the Top 50 spots in the Major League Baseball Draft this summer. But first, his dream is a trip to Omaha, Nebraska, and the College World Series. Harrington has the skills to lead Campbell there. “Our goal is to win as many games as we can and do something we’ve never done before,” he says. “And I think we have the group that can do it.” BILLY LIGGETT
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Campbell University celebrated the success of the Campbell Leads campaign with a black tie gala held in the Academic Circle on April 1. More than 300 donors and friends of the University were on hand for the event.
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A Celebration of Giving More than $105 million was raised during the five-year Campbell Leads campaign, funding student scholarships, a new student union and the general fund. To celebrate this achievement, we honor those who gave and share the inspirational stories of those who benefit from their generosity. By Billy Liggett Photography by Ashley Stephenson and Ben Brown
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Total money raised in President J. Bradley Creed’s five-year Campbell Leads campaign, benefiting students through endowed scholarships and funding the Oscar N. Harris Student Union and the Campbell Fund
to what we value. To what tugs at our heart. We give to what we connect with. Where our passions are. Presented with the simple question, why do we give, J. Bradley Creed hearkens back to the most notable miser in literary history, Ebenezer Scrooge. “I think the most miserable people I know are those who keep it all to themselves,” he says. “Altruism is part of being a whole person. And in the end, Scrooge became a very generous man.” Campbell University’s fifth president knew a student union was coming before he was ever offered the job. It was months before his first day in office — a November 2014 interview with the presidential search committee in a north Raleigh hotel room — when Creed caught wind that Campbell lacked such a building and that one was sorely needed. “I flew back to Birmingham, and my wife asked, ‘How’d it go?’” he recalls. “I said, ‘Well, I think it went really well. They’re really fine people. But whoever this next president is, they’ll need to lead the way in constructing a student union building.’ They were really determined about it.”
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Three things that go together like the legs on a stool, Creed jokes, are presidential inaugurations, strategic plans and capital campaigns. Not long after his own inauguration ceremony in April 2016, Creed announced his strategic plan and the capital campaign that would fund it. The Campbell Leads campaign would focus on three high priorities — student scholarships, the Fund for Campbell and that aforementioned student union. The goal: $75 million in five years. It was ambitious — the last major campaign under President Jerry Wallace came over a decade prior with the $30 million convocation center, built in 2008. But it was vital to Campbell’s future, both short term and long term.
And while that beautiful 110,000-square-foot campustransforming center of student activity has gotten most of the attention over the course of the five-year campaign, the heart of Campbell Leads, to him, is in the endowed scholarships that have been and will be created because of it. Over $44 million of the $105.7 million raised from 2016 to the end of 2021 (yes, Campbell obliterated that initial $75 million goal) is for endowed scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students. Since his days as a dean at Baylor University, Creed has been a fervent advocate for scholarships to provide an equal playing field for students of all economic backgrounds. He saw firsthand how they benefited students under his charge.
There’s a personal connection, as well. When Brad and Kathy Creed lost their oldest daughter, Caitlin, to a car accident while a freshman at Baylor, they chose to honor her by setting up a scholarship in her name. Two weeks later, Creed received a phone call from a development officer at Baylor who said because of the generosity of the community that mourned with them, the scholarship was already fully endowed. “This was the worst thing that ever happened to our family, but there was a lot of grace that came out of all of it,” says Creed, who started a similar scholarship at Samford, where he served as vice president before coming to Campbell. “We get letters every year from students who tell us what our scholarship has done for them. And their stories are amazing and very touching. And they know about our daughter, too, because they took the time to learn about her life.”
Kaela McCoy, a 2017 Campbell graduate, painted this “complete” version of the Academic Circle, featuring new facilities like the student union and admissions building, to honor the Campbell Leads campaign.
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The Oscar N. Harris Student Union served as the backdrop for the April 1 gala celebrating the Campbell Leads campaign. The building, completed in 2020, has already become the social hub and centerpiece of main campus. Photo: Ashley Stephenson
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A breakdown of how the $105.7 million raised during the Campbell Leads campaign is being distributed to meet the immediate and future needs of Campbell University:
$44.6M $32.6M $18.0M $10.5M
Endowed scholarships for Campbell University students Capital projects such as the Oscar N. Harris Student Union University research and community projects The Fund for Campbell and other projects on campus
Each year, roughly 2,800 Campbell students receive at least one scholarship, and the University awards approximately $5 million in endowed scholarships. One third of all students at Campbell are first-generation college students, and many of them have financial needs beyond the scholarships. “It’s a gift that never ends,” Creed says. “The scholarships Kathy and I have given — and the scholarships our donors have given over the years — will live on long after we’re gone, and they benefit generations of students.” We give to what we value. Giving is more of an emotional engagement than a rational one, Creed says. But when it comes to giving to Campbell University, he still likes to present the rationality to those who give. “I’ll never tire of telling people what a great investment a college education is,” he says. “There’s simply no better return on investment. And that’s a message that is falling on more and more deaf ears these days. The public sentiment about a college education isn’t what it used to be.” It’s expensive. It’s an investment. But Creed points to studies that continue to show that a college degree improves your chances for making a better life for you and for those you love. “That’s why I think what we do is so important. Higher education adds to human flourishing and helps people realize the potential God has given them. And that’s why it’s not hard for me at all to invite people to share this great enterprise and ask them to give of their resources.”
President J. Bradley Creed, seated with Bob and Pat Barker, applauds during a presentation on Oscar Harris at the Campbell Leads gala celebration on April 1. Photo: Ashley Stephenson
WHY WE GIVE
DR. JAMES PURVIS
resident Creed remembers his first visit to Buies Creek and driving down Leslie Campbell Avenue — his first impression and the first impression for many when they come to Campbell University. The symbolic “window” to the Academic Circle was framed by two residence halls built in the 1950s. Kitchin and Baldwin Halls mirrored each other, both three stories tall and both dotted with window air-conditioning units to make up for the 60-year-old buildings’ lack of a central cooling system. “It looked like the buildings had warts on them,” Creed recalls. “And I told my wife, ‘If it’s the last thing I do, those buildings have gotta go.’” It turns out, it was one of the first (big) things Creed did as president. Roughly 16 months after his inauguration, Kitchin and Baldwin were met with the wrecking ball to make way for the Oscar N. Harris Student Union, which began construction in 2018. And though his own days as a Campbell student were well behind him, perhaps nobody was happier to see this kind of progress than Dr. James Purvis.
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“We were known for years as a ‘suitcase school,’ so we really wanted to enhance the residential experience and have a place for people to gather. I live just a block over, so I’m in that building frequently, and I’m always seeing students there. And so when I think back to a time not very long ago when this building wasn’t here, the enormity of the project really sinks in.” President J. Bradley Creed On the impact of the Oscar N. Harris Student Union in just two short years
The Oscar N. Harris Student Union opened officially in spring of 2020, just months into the COVID-19 pandemic. But the building didn’t begin to realize its full potential until the 2021-22 academic year. Photo: Ben Brown
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A 2009 biology graduate who would go on to dental school and eventually start his own practice in his native New Bern, Purvis says he loved almost everything about his Campbell experience. And that one “wart” on his experience was weekends.
(Left) James and Veronica Purvis look on at the April 1 gala celebrating the Campbell Leads campaign. Photo: Ashley Stephenson
When Creed announced the pending construction of a large student union — one that would be equipped with newer dining options, social spaces for students, study lounges, game rooms, a movie theater, a two-story workout facility, a large ballroom for events and office areas for student-led organizations, he was thrilled for his alma mater. Like his grandmother and beautification, Purvis found his focus.
(Right) Purivs Gardens was the result of a gift made by James Purvis’ grandparents with a focus on beautification. Photo: Ben Brown
“With very few exceptions, weekends were the time when I would either drive home or drive out to Fairmont, North Carolina to visit my granddad,” Purvis says. That granddad, the late P.C. Purvis — who was also a dentist — was a 32-year member of the Board of Trustees and a longtime supporter of Campbell University. He and James’ grandmother, Peggy Purvis, shared a long-term vision for the beautification of Campbell’s main campus, and together they established Purvis Gardens, the fountain surrounded by small shade trees in front of the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business. “My grandmother would come to campus when granddad went to meetings, and back then, she thought the campus was a wasteland,” Purvis says. “It was too sandy, the grass was dead, too many bricks. When granddad wanted to make a gift in the late 90s, she practically threatened him — ‘I’m not going to let you give another dime to that school unless it’s earmarked for beautification.’ And so he told that to [former president] Dr. [Norman A.] Wiggins.” Wiggins, he says, laughed and agreed to the gardens. “I’ve taken my little boy who’s 2 now to those gardens, and so when my wife and I are giving, we think about these things,” Purvis says. “We’ve prayed about where the need lies, and I think about my grandmother and her focus on beautification.” Rewind to Purvis’ statement earlier about his weekends at Campbell. While his trips home were nice and his visits with his grandparents are cherished to this day, he admits it’s pretty sad that he felt the need to leave campus on weekends to enjoy his youth. No undergraduate campus wants to be known as a “suitcase campus” on the weekends, but Purvis says that’s exactly what Campbell was during his formidable years.
“I wasn’t the only one who did this,” he says. “The campus was a ghost town on the weekends.”
He wanted to give to this student union. He wanted to make a difference in the undergraduate experience at Campbell University. The second floor reception area outside of the building’s movie theater is now named for James and Veronica Purvis. Like the gardens on the other side of campus, there’s is a gift that will last for generations. “I’m a dentist, and as a former biology student here, I was really excited about the health sciences campus and everything Campbell was doing for the graduate experience,” Purvis says. “But as excited as I got for health sciences, those buildings were already there, and my heart really wanted to help foster something that undergraduates could utilize and enjoy. Not only that, it’s a building that is going to draw people here.”
The total number of gifts and donations made by Campbell University alumni, faculty and staff and friends of the Campbell community over the five-year life of the Campbell Leads campaign.
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Chandler and Meredith Rose, owners of the Raleigh-based Rosewood Family of Companies, are ardent supporters of the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business’ Peer Mentor program. Photo: Ashley Stephenson
WHY WE GIVE
CHANDLER & MEREDITH ROSE
he word “culture” comes up a lot when Chandler and Meredith Rose talk about their company and the growing group of professionals who work for them.
You either create that culture, or the culture creates itself. In their 12-year relationship with Campbell University, the Roses have brought in several interns from the LundyFetterman School of Business, and one thing they’ve noticed in that time is Campbell students — far more often than not — fit that culture they’ve worked so hard to create. “Our Campbell interns this summer were asked to reorganize our storage room, and no one acted like it was beneath them,” says Meredith. “They were proud of the work they did, and that’s the type of character we want. And the students we get from Campbell, this is repeated over and over and over again. And that’s something that speaks to me — I’m a chief marketing officer, and I’ve scrubbed toilets here. We work together as a team and do whatever it takes to get a job done.”
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That team has built the ever-growing Rosewood Family of Companies, a conglomerate of organizations providing a full suite of construction, installation, project management and staffing services all over the country. Those companies include Cruxos, InDemand Services, Penmark Inspired Spaces and Southern Concepts Design Build and ProVantage Solutions — the latter offering services such as new store set-ups and existing store remodels and resets for some of the biggest companies in the U.S. ProVantage was formed during the economic downturn in 2008 when the Roses acquired its predecessor out of bankruptcy. They’ve since transformed it to five operating companies and grown revenue by 1,600 percent. In 2021, Chandler was named among Triangle Business Journal’s CEO of the Year cohort. From Day 1, Chandler and Meredith Rose have operated under five core values — “grace through generosity” chief among them. The Roses donate 20 percent of their earnings to various charities, nonprofit organizations, Christian organizations and local colleges and universities. “The reason we do any of this is to multiply our blessings,” says Meredith, who serves as chief design and marketing officer. “We give to Campbell, but we also give to Wake Forest, Liberty, local Christian schools and K-12 schools. The reason we focus on education is because we want to help support
Nearly a third of all incoming freshmen at Campbell University are first-generation college students, meaning they’re coming from a family whose parents did not earn a four-year degree. First-generation students historically have a more difficult time earning a degree in four years for a variety of reasons. Campbell’s Peer Mentor Program and First Year Experience are designed help first-gen students navigate those first few difficult years of their college experience.
that next generation of givers. So that maybe when they grow up, they can say, ‘I got a scholarship, and it made such a big difference in my life, and I want to be able to do the same for somebody else.’ Or it could take them to a level where they could not have gotten without that money. When something like that has been done for you, maybe it will motivate you to one day do the same.” Chandler recalls a conversation he had with Edward Fubara, assistant dean of academic affairs and professor for the School of Business, and Fubara asked him a question from his Ethics in Business course — should companies be required to give back? Chandler said, “Absolutely not.” “I’m a capitalist, but I’m also very much a believer that if you’re blessed, then Biblically, you should be tithing and giving back. And you should pass that down and set the example,” he says. The Roses’ relationship with Campbell began not long after Matthew Epps (’09 MBA) was brought on as executive vice president for ProVantage in 2009 (today, he’s group president for the Rosewood Family of Companies). Epps was a few months away from earning his MBA at Campbell, and getting to know the University was a product of Chandler and Meredith’s desire to connect with their employees and support their interests. In 2011, Meredith was named to the School of Business’ Advisory Council, and this year, the Roses made a naming gift to support the school’s Peer Mentor Program,
WHY WE GIVE
OSCAR N. HARRIS
he black tie gala held on April 1 in the Academic Circle on main campus served as more than a celebration of the successful Campbell Leads campaign. It doubled as an official “opening ceremony” for the student union that towered over the outdoor tent where the festivities were held. And it allowed for a much-deserved public tribute to the man whose name can be found near both entrances of the building. Oscar N. Harris, a 1965 Campbell graduate who would go on to serve for 20 years as mayor for the city of Dunn, North Carolina, and longtime supporter and advocate for his alma mater, died on Jan. 28, 2020, just months before his naming gift for the Oscar N. Harris Student Union was made public. Harris — who when not in politics ran his own accounting firm and served multiple terms as a Campbell University trustee and member of several committees — was a vital cog in the fundraising engine that made the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine possible in 2013. He lent his business acumen once again when the Campbell Leads campaign was launched and funds were needed for the 110,000-squarefoot student union, a much-needed addition to the student experience for on-campus residents and commuters alike. Ben Thompson, a 1976 Campbell graduate, 1979 Campbell Law graduate and current chairman of the Board of Trustees, provided a tribute to his longtime friend at the April 1 event, calling Harris, “quite simply the man you needed to have on your side” in all business ventures. “He was a tireless worker and an effective advocate for any cause he supported,” Thompson said. President J. Bradley Creed shared the story of the first time he met Harris and recalled the day he heard news of his untimely death. “What a legacy he has left all of us,” Creed said. “Oscar embodies the spirit of not just the student union, but of this University.”
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WHY WE GIVE
rowing up in the small Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago, Kafi Friday saw firsthand the negative effects of medical misinformation and lack of proper medical care. When her grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer, she’s the one who took him to his check-ups, and she remembers the extreme amounts of radiation that was used to treat him. Friday didn’t know her father well growing up, and her mother left the country with her siblings when she was 6 for the United States to better financially support the family. So her grandfather helped raise her, and when cancer took his life, the loss was devastating. Watching him struggle with his health and experiencing the lack of access to first-world health care had a huge impact on Friday’s life. “My grandfather would always tell me, ‘Whatever happens, it happens for a reason,’” she says. “And I truly believe all the experiences I’ve had — growing up how I did to everything that led me to Campbell, where I’m now studying oncology [cancer research] — everything happens for a reason, and I believe this is where I’m supposed to be.” Chandler and Meredith Rose donate 20 percent of their earnings to various charities, nonprofit organizations, Christian schools and organizations, and local colleges and universities.
which couples experienced students with incoming students to help guide them through the rigors of higher education. “The people involved in the Peer Mentor Program are giving their time. They’re giving their influence,” Meredith says. “The influence they have and the time they spend with those kids — it’s just so generous that they’re doing that. And it’s so important to those students.” “Tell me the best gift card you’ve ever received?” adds Chandler. “We’ve given financially, but who remembers a gift card? After a while, nobody. But you remember a gift that had some thought and effort. When you get outside of the financial giving, and you actually do something that touches someone or recognizes the struggles they’re facing — they’ll remember that. That gift will actually have some staying power. “So it’s aspirational and hopeful that they get our scholarship and remember us. But I think if they get something from us that is more personal and touching — something that helps them develop — then maybe that’s something they’ll take with them for the rest of their life. To me, that has much better staying power.”
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Friday’s story was told in a five-minute video presentation at the Campbell Leads Gala on April 1, a celebration of the $105 million campaign that funded more than $45 million in scholarships, both current and future. Scholarships have helped make it possible for her to attend Campbell and work toward her doctor of pharmacy degree, which she’s on pace to receive in 2023. Her inspirational story has come to symbolize the importance of giving and how one scholarship can make a difference in not only one person’s life, but to the community (and even country) that they serve. Friday was an 18-year-old recent high school graduate when she began working for the United Nations in Trinidad and Tobago and its International Organization for Migration. Two years later, she received her green card and left her home country for New York City to join her mother and two siblings who moved there 14 years earlier. New York was a different world to her — for one, she left a Caribbean climate that rarely got below 60 at night for the northeast U.S. in January. Walking off the plane that day felt like walking into a freezer.
PODCAST: Listen to our full interview with third-year Doctor of Pharmacy student Kafi Friday on our Rhymes With Orange podcast. Friday talks about her journey from Trinidad and Tobago to Buies Creek and what led her the pharmaceutical field. campbelledu.podbean.com
Kafi Friday is on schedule to earn her PharmD degree in 2023. She says her education would not have been possible without those who made her funder her scholarships, and she plans on giving after she graduates. Photo: Ben Brown
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The move was the easy decision. What was more difficult was choosing a career path. Friday worked in clothing stores to earn some money and landed scholarships to attend Brooklyn College, where she found a program called Minority Access to Research Careers, which helped her work toward Ph.D. programs in public health and research fields. A cousin living in the Raleigh area told Friday about Research Triangle Park and the opportunities in a growing city with a slightly warmer climate. She did move to North Carolina, but her career took an unexpected turn — middle school science teacher in Roanoke Rapids. “Some of them really thought I was a doctor,” Friday says. “They’d come up to me and ask about their ADHD or bipolar medication. They’d tell me these medications were making them too sleepy or these were making them lose their appetite. And I’d do my best, based on what I knew, to give advice, but I’d tell them I wasn’t a doctor. But it occurred to me, then and there, that pharmacy might be something I’d like to do. Something that I’d be good at and something that I’d love. I already had the prerequisites and the chemistry degree.”
Cancer took Friday’s grandfather, and her younger sister, who is 22 now, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma when she was 9. Oncology is personal to Friday, and Campbell University has afforded her the opportunity to learn more about cancer. As a student, she founded a local chapter of the National Community Oncology Dispensing Association, a nonprofit group addressing the growing need for dispensing cancer clinics to improve operations at the pharmacy level in the U.S. “I’ve gotten so many opportunities here at Campbell … I was talking to a friend recently about all of this, and they said, ‘You know, they really see something in you,’” Friday says. “I really do feel like Campbell sees my potential — they want to build me into something great.” When Friday officially earns the Doctor of Pharmacy title, she hopes to work in the pharmaceutical field “on a global scale” — she’s already been in contact with an organization in her home country, and she would one day love to return and be the person who makes access to cancer medications easier for everybody.
Friday “put it all in God’s hands” and applied to one pharmacy school — Campbell’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Three years into this four-year journey, she is thankful for the opportunity and the future that’s before her.
“So I also want to open a clinic in my country, because we have health care and we have hospitals, but the service in these places isn’t always very good. That’s why a lot of people are scared to go,” Friday says.
“The coursework is hard, and it requires a lot of dedication. And there are times when it’s gotten really difficult, and I’ll ask, ‘Lord, is this really what I’m supposed to be doing?’ But then he always shows me something that tells me, without a doubt, ‘Yes.’ I’ve had such a great experience at Campbell, and the faculty here know my story, and they’ve allowed me to focus on an area that’s near and dear to me.”
Her education is already having a domino effect on her family. She’s gotten to know her father more as an adult, and he’s noticed the opportunities she has at Campbell, and he’s reached out to ask how he can help make improvements at her old primary school. “He never valued education, because he didn’t really get one himself,” she says. “But seeing how it’s impacted his daughter, he wants to give back.”
Kafi Friday shared her story in a video shown to donors at the April 1 gala celebrating the Campbell Leads campaign. Photo: Ashley Stephenson
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The Ransdell Charitable Trust in 2016 pledged $450,000 to the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences to support the Health Professionals Readiness and Enrichment Program (HPREP), a four-day disciplinary and professional development program for students interested in Campbell’s health science degree paths.
WHY WE GIVE
obby Ransdell was traveling with a friend through eastern North Carolina when they stopped at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant and sat down at its one table to eat alongside a stranger. About five minutes into their meal, the stranger stood up to leave. “I said, ‘You don’t have to leave … I hope we haven’t offended you or something like that,’” Ransdell recalls, “and he said, ‘Oh, no. I have to go get my prescription filled, and the nearest pharmacy is about 50 miles away.’” That moment stuck with Ransdell, whose family company has enjoyed success in the fencing industry for several years. It led him to reach out to his friend and neighbor, Larry Swanson, the former chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at Campbell’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, and that led to a meeting with the school’s founding dean, Ronald Maddox. Ransdell was surprised to learn that his own Harnett County was also considered a “medically underserved” area. He responded with several large gifts for the school — one of them to establish a mobile clinic initiative and another to fund scholarships for students wanting to make a difference in rural areas through their future practice. Then in 2016, the Ransdell Charitable Trust pledged $450,000 toward the Health Professionals Readiness and Enrichment Program, or HPREP. The program is a four-day interdisciplinary, preparatory and professional development
course that gives a “slice of life” career look for students interested in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences, clinical research, public health, physician assistant opportunities and physical therapy. Prospective students come in and network with health professionals and current students to get a better idea of what to expect in these programs, and — very important to Ransdell — HPREP is targeted at first-generation college prospects, students from financially disadvantaged families, underrepresented minority students and students with a particular interest in practicing in rural areas. Now named the Ransdell Family Health Professions Readiness & Enrichment Program, the inspiration hit Ransdell after learning about the program, which at the time was sponsored by the state of North Carolina and was facing an uncertain financial future. “I thought it was important these students have the opportunity to find out what they really want to do,” he says. “After going through this program, many of them change the career they think they want, because they see a better fit in another. Going through this program saves them time and money — then that opens up a spot for another student who really wants to be in that program, but otherwise could have been left out. It’s a winwin situation.” The Ransdell family gift for the program is committed to keeping it running at least through 2030. He hopes to see it go much longer. Seeing rural communities thrive and seeing people living in rural communities live healthy lives with proper access to
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The Mildred & Norman Wiggins Arts & Sciences Endowed Scholarship will provide support for Campbell undergraduate students for generations. The $13 million donation on behalf of the former president and first lady’s estate was the largest single gift in Campbell history.
WHY WE GIVE
efore coming to Campbell University in 2013, Assistant Vice President of Alumni Engagement Sarah Swain (’05) was an income development officer for the American Cancer Society. The work was not only rewarding, Swain felt like she was making a difference for her fellow man. Every day, the goal was to find a cure for cancer.
She’s clear about this — her work at Campbell over the last nine years has been incredibly rewarding. But something was missing. “Campbell makes an impact on so many people, but looking at myself … I didn’t feel like I was making an impact. And I missed that.” When Vice President for Advancement Britt Davis approached Swain about helping secure funding for the North Carolina Higher Education in Prisons Program — which for the past nearly three years has guided its first cohort of 11 students at Sampson County Correctional Institute in Clinton to a two-year associate’s degree and the halfway mark of a fouryear bachelor’s program — she jumped at the chance. On Aug. 31 of last year, Swain visited Sampson Correctional for the first time to attend the commencement ceremony for the program’s first graduating class. She says she was nervous that day — she’d worked hard to help make it happen, but she didn’t know how she would connect with the men. “My prayer going in was to see them through a lens of grace and respect their efforts and their diligence. And it turned out to be just a really happy day for everybody. It really was.” Swain had been to dozens of graduation ceremonies before this one. And one of the most rewarding parts of her job is being there to welcome new graduates into the alumni community. On Aug. 31, Swain realized she was doing the same thing for the 11 men looking to change their lives for the better— she was welcoming them as Campbell University alumni. “Graduation is a celebration of the work that got you to that point, setting you up for success for the future. And what that future brings is up to you. We’re propelling you to go forward and conquer.”
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health care has been important to Ransdell, long before that encounter in the restaurant. He was drawn to support Campbell’s health science programs because of the school’s mission to serve people in underserved areas. Ransdell sees helping students who choose Campbell as a two-fold investment, because those students end up in careers that help rural communities. “A lot of our students choose to go back to underserved areas, whether it’s eastern North Carolina, the Appalachians or the inner city,” Ransdell says. “And we’ve seen our students working with migrant farm workers at their work sites, providing valuable care that they otherwise wouldn’t have received. “There are some counties in North Carolina that don’t have a single OB/GYN. So somebody has to step up and become the physician who is able to attend to these patients. You may not live in Charlotte, Raleigh or Greensboro, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the same treatment. I think Campbell shares this goal, and I think they’re doing the right things to help.” Bobby Ransdell is a humble man. When asked about his generosity, his answers focus on the needs. He says it’s important to him that the HPREP program carries the name “Ransdell Family,” rather than “Bobby Ransdell.” Seeing his name on a building or a program isn’t why he gives, but giving is a way he can honor his family. “I’m not doing it for me,” he says. “A lot of this was done to honor my parents, who grew up during the Depression. My dad was almost deaf and went without a hearing aid, and he and my mother really struggled during those times. And while they were not very successful from a monetary standpoint, they were successful by being wonderful human beings. That legacy is important to me.”
“Campbell’s mission in its health sciences programs is to serve our underserved areas. A lot of our students choose to go back to underserved areas, whether it’s eastern North Carolina, the Appalachians or the inner city. And we’ve seen our students working with migrant farm workers at their work sites, providing valuable care that they otherwise wouldn’t have received.” Bobby Ransdell On why he supports the Ransdell Family Health Professions Readiness & Enrichment Program
Campbell University health science programs have formed partnerships with hospitals across the state, including Cape Fear Valley physical therapy program in Fayetteville. Photo: Ben Brown
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Lizzie Tart, a 2016 graduate, is giving back early through a planned gift that will benefit future young women majoring in business through an endowed scholarship. Photo: Ben Brown
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WHY WE GIVE
izzie Tart will hopefully have lived a long and fruitful life and had a lovely worded obituary written about her before Campbell University sees the first dime of her endowed scholarship gift. She’ll never get to meet the first student — likely a young woman with big dreams of going into the business world — whose education will be made possible by her generosity. And Lizzie Tart is OK with that. “It’s not about me,” she says. “I’m starting this scholarship in honor of the important women in my life who paved the way for me. I’m very lucky to have had lots of very strong women — my mom, my grandmother, business mentors. [Assistant Vice President for Alumni Engagement] Sarah Swain was one of my first true mentors, and my current boss is just awesome. I’m just lucky to have had these people and these experiences, and Campbell has the capability of sending these kinds of individuals out into the world. “So to me, this is about leaving a legacy — I don’t have to be around to see it.” Barely five years after walking the stage and receiving her bachelor’s degree in trust and wealth management, Tart — now the lead project manager at Lumen Technologies — has begun a planned gift toward a scholarship specifically aimed at women majoring in business. She’s giving now toward that $25,000 scholarship, which will be part of a trust, and the gift will go into effect when she decides to pass it on to the beneficiary, which in this case will be Campbell. While death doesn’t have to be the event that makes that happen, it’s often part of one’s will. Even though it may be years before anybody benefits, Tart feels like she’s making a difference now. “I would not have been able to come to Campbell it it weren’t for the academic scholarships I received,” she says. “My mom was a single mother, and we just wouldn’t have been able to swing it otherwise. That’s part of the reason this is so important to me.” Tart was looking at the bigger schools in the Triangle coming out of high school and admittedly didn’t know much about Campbell before her visit back in 2011. And she still wasn’t sold after her first visit, because she still liked the idea of attending a large school. But she applied and was accepted, and while visiting campus during Accepted Students Day, her outlook changed. She met and got to know the faculty and staff
at the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business, and she liked the attention and the genuine interaction she received. While her career didn’t end up following the “trust and wealth management” route, she’s thankful for her Campbell experience and credits it for the career she’s begun. “I tell everybody I know that Campbell gives you a different experience than any other university, and I have friends who’ve attended colleges all over the country,” she says. “The opportunities that were available to me, the internships I had every summer, getting involved in student government, working in the advancement office and becoming a founding sister of a sorority — these are opportunities that just wouldn’t have been available to me anywhere else.” Being a part of the first panhellenic sorority on campus — Delta Phi Epsilon — was a huge part of Tart’s Campbell experience. She and the other founding sisters were tasked with building by-laws, building a constitution and laying the foundation for an organization that will hopefully last for generations on campus. Tart served as the sorority’s vice president for operations and was tasked with “real-life accounting” and managing the organization’s funds. She also spent time as a student worker for Campbell’s Office of Advancement and was able to see firsthand the impact gifts from donors can have on a smaller university. “That experience showed me how important it is to have people continue to stay involved — whether it’s financially, through volunteering or just by spreading Campbell’s name,” she says. “For a lot of people, college is a four-year experience, and once they get their education, they move on with their life and don’t look back. But I think what Campbell has to offer is so special, and I feel like I have to share my experience with other people — especially future students — to let them know what a hidden gem this place is.”
The approximate number of students who receive help on their tuition and fees each year thanks to endowed scholarships. Roughly $5 million is awarded in endowed and direct aid scholarships annually, according to the Office of Advancement
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Planned gifts totaled nearly $4 million at Campbell University during the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Several of those gifts were made by younger alumni like Nolan Perry (pictured) to spread out gifts over several years that will have a big impact over time.
WHY WE GIVE
Often, a gift made to Campbell University is the result of an “ask.” But even when the gift is 100 percent the idea of the donor, advancement officers are critical in seeing that gift through — making sure it gets to the right program and offering expertise on the gift that makes the most financial sense to the donor. Peter Donlon has been director of planned giving at Campbell since 2018, overseeing estate planning, wills, insurance policies, trusts and other forms of giving that go beyond the “sign the check now” way of doing things. Planned gifts totaled nearly $4 million at Campbell during the 2020-2021 fiscal year alone. “Planned giving is a way for you to give, but give later down the line,” says Donlon, who spent over 20 years in the hospitality industry with Marriott International before coming to Campbell. Donlon and his colleagues guide those big decisions, allowing donors to make larger gifts that return them an income stream for life. Some donors prefer to make gifts that leverage tax incentives, including real estate, IRA gifts, and whole life insurance policies. Planned gifts can be very big — the largest single gift in Campbell’s 135-year history was made in 2020 when the trust of former Campbell President
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Norman A. Wiggins and his wife Millie Wiggins left $13 million to create the Wiggins Arts & Sciences Endowed Scholarship. But they’re also an option for recent graduates who may not have the resources to make a large gift now, but want to contribute to a fund over several years. Donlon’s relationship with Campbell began as a student in 2003 when he left the hospitality industry to answer a call to ministry, enrolling in the Divinity School for a Master of Divinity degree in chaplaincy and counseling. In 2007, he became director of programs for Urban Ministries of Durham, and from 2011 to 2013, he developed a system of care for 12 homeless services agencies in and around Raleigh and managed all aspects of donor relations for the Salvation Army of Wake County. In 2015, he returned to Campbell Divinity as director of church relations and development, and he made the jump to advancement and planned giving three years later. He says his experience in hospitality, ministry and nonprofit agencies all prepared him for his current role. “We’re in the people business, getting to know who they are, getting to know what’s important to them,” Donlon says. “You get to know their story and what brings them joy. Everybody has a story — I completely believe that. I’ve always been a great listener, and it’s important to really get to know
these stories and form these relationships before we talk about finances and giving.” There’s a bit of “salesmanship” to the job as well — but that part comes easy when you believe in the product you’re pitching. Donlon says Campbell brings him joy, and he believes the work he’s doing has a direct impact on students. If the University continues to grow and prosper, it reaches more of these students, educates them and sends them out to become servant leaders and important pieces of their communities. And the donors Donlon deals with — not all of them have had a Campbell experience prior to meeting him. Not all of them are alums or parents of current students.
“I had a call from a donor who’d been connected with Campbell for some years, and he referred me to another person who had never experienced Campbell, but heard good things,” he said. “Through some research, she started learning about our health sciences campus and our osteopathic medical school — the holistic side of what we do was really appealing to her. So she made a visit. We toured the med school and we met with Will Bratton, director of development at the pharmacy school, and she walked away saying, ‘I’m in.’ I want to do something to help. So she created a scholarship, and she’s since written me messages saying she’s proud to be a part of the Campbell community. “Wow, you know. She saw Campbell as a place worthy of her investment. It was a wonderful experience for me, and I continue to be humbled by the generosity of others to Campbell.”
Peter Donlon, center with wife Janet and friends, has been director of planned giving at Campbell since 2018. Donlon is a graduate of the Divinity School’s Master of Divinity program. Photo: Ashley Stephenson
CAMPBELL UNIVERSITY 47
WHY WE GIVE
enior Skylar Raynor was nearing the end of another work day as a member of Campbell University’s Call Team — a group of students working in the Office of Annual Giving tasked with reaching out to alumni and potential donors for the gifts that are vital for any private university. On this day, she was calling to deliver “thank yous” to those who have supported Campbell over the last five years. As she was ready to end the call with one donor, the woman asked her about information on funding a scholarship. Raynor beamed. “I was like, ‘You know, you’re more than welcome to give again,’” she recalls. “And so she ends up funding the same scholarship that has supported me throughout my time here at Campbell. And so I got a chance to thank her twice that night.” Raynor, born in New York but raised in nearby Holly Springs, says college wouldn’t have been a realistic option for her if it were not for scholarships like the one she received at Campbell. The Gail McMichael Drew Scholarship, granted by Dalton McMichael, is awarded to worthy full-time students
enrolled in Campbell’s School of Education. She chose Campbell because not only was it close to home, it felt like home. “When I visited here, I didn’t really pay attention to a lot of extra aspects about Campbell,” she says. “I simply paid attention to how I felt on campus, and I felt like I belonged here.” She was table hopping at her freshman Welcome Week Street Fair when she heard a young girl calling out, “On-campus jobs!” for everyone to hear. The girl was the daughter of Campbell alumna and former Director of Annual Giving Tammi Fries, who was looking for students to join the Call Team. Having worked fast food and other jobs since high school, Raynor was no stranger to employment. In fact, finding a job was as important as making her first day of classes, because she needed the income to help fund her being away from home for the first time. “My parents have always instilled in me that you’re never going to be handed the things you want to accomplish,” she says. “You have to work for it. And my previous experience in customer service — and even in fast food — prepared me for this job. I knew going in I would need kindness and patience when speaking to customers. My previous jobs taught me to find
Skylar Raynor shared a selfie with her fellow Call Team members in a recent blog titled, “Call Team Reflections.” Raynor spent four years on the team and is set to graduate this spring.
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Senior Skylar Raynor has seen the benefits of giving from both sides — as a student Call Team member and as an undergraduate whose college experience was made possible by endowed scholarships. Photo: Ben Brown
CAMPBELL UNIVERSITY 49
The smallest gifts end up having the biggest impact at Campbell University. The median gift made during the Campbell Leads campaign was $25 — in fact, more than 80% of the gifts made during the campaign (49,000 of them) were for $100 or less.
WHY WE GIVE
things in common with people I don’t know — and in Call Team, we all have Campbell in common.
ne of the first classes I sat in as an undergraduate was the School of Business’s New Student Forum, designed to aid students in becoming the best student they could be. Little did I know that this seemingly introductory course would stick with me through law school, through starting a business and through leading two non-profit organizations. It was during a “strengths” quiz in this course that I recognized my passion for building connections. As I reflect on the relationships I have built as the board chair for the Fuquay-Varina Chamber of Commerce and Carolina Charter Academy and as a business owner, I recognize that we are all part of a web of communities. Our communities could be our occupation, volunteer service, church group, friend group — but we are the catalyst that connects them all together. One of my favorite communities that seems to permeate all my other networks, is my Campbell family. Almost every worthwhile opportunity I have had is connected back to Campbell University. This is why since graduation, I have made an effort to give back to my Campbell community. As a graduate of the Trust and Wealth Management program, when I think about maximizing my support of Campbell, planned giving jumps to the forefront of my mind. We often think of planned giving as something we do at retirement; however, as an attorney I see that estate planning is crucial for those starting their career and family. Setting up a a whole life insurance policy with Campbell as the beneficiary would allow me to give money that may not be tangibly available to me now. By gifting the policy, I could donate my annual premium payments to the university making them tax deductible. I would love for the young professionals among our alumni to connect back with the alma mater we all love. Whether that be in the form of time and talent, or as time becomes more precious in the form of financial support, we make Campbell a stronger institution and allow it to continue to open up opportunities for us. WRITTEN BY NOLAN PERRY
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“So I’ve really enjoyed the job for the last four years. I like getting to know these people over the phone — the actual ‘fundraising’ question doesn’t come until after I’ve done that.” She’s had four years to learn not only how to talk to potential donors, but to get to know their motivation to give. She’s seen both sides of giving — from the “ask” to the impact. “Giving has made my Campbell experience possible,” she says. “People who’ve given toward scholarships, they have helped me, and they’ve helped my friends whose only barrier to graduation was a financial barrier. It’s made me more empathetic to people whose only obstacle to success is accessibility to the right resources. I’ve seen, and I know that when people give to Campbell, their gifts actually help people.” Hours before this interview, Raynor learned that her graduate studies at William & Mary will be 100-percent covered by scholarships. Plus, she’ll earn a stipend by working as a graduate assistant. The opportunities she’s been afforded because of the generosity of others is not lost on her, and they will be the reason she gives back when she becomes an alumna. “I will 100 percent give back what I can to Campbell University after I graduate,” she says. “I’ve been so grateful for what I have, and I know it wouldn’t be possible without people giving back. And I would absolutely want to do that for somebody else in the future.”
Make a Whole Life Insurance Policy Gift to Campbell at any age to help us continue to thrive in the future. Your Insurance can be your legacy.
For more information on the tax benefits of making an insurance gift, please see our website at legacy.campbell.edu, or contact Peter Donlon at (910) 893-1847, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Receive a charitable income tax deduction Receive additional income tax deductions each year that you make annual contributions so that Campbell University can pay the annual insurance premiums. At maturity, the policy proceeds will be paid to Campbell and used per your designation. MAGAZINE.CAMPBELL.EDU
CAMPBELL UNIVERSITY 51
SOUTHERN FARE On March 4, the Friends of the Library held a cooking demonstration and tasting featuring Spring Council, chef at Mama Dip’s Kitchen in Chapel Hill and daughter of Mildred (the restaurant’s namesake), and Nancie McDermott, an award-winning food writer, who has authored 14 cookbooks and numerous articles and founded the Culinary Historians of Piedmont North Carolina. Included (right) are two of the recipes Council and McDermott presented at Campbell back in March. To see all of their entries — and to watch videos of their demonstrations — read the online version of this story at magazine.campbell.edu.
Pine Burr Yearbook
Ada Jane Elizabeth Taylor worked the kitchen at Marshbanks Hall for 46 years, starting in 1917. Wiggins Memorial Library has launched the Ada Taylor Culinary Collection in her honor.
CULINARY COLLECTION Old recipes of longtime Campbell cook, matriarch pays tribute to her ‘long, tireless’ association with school
full-page tribute published in the 1963 Campbell College yearbook, Pine Burr, noted that Ada Jane Elizabeth Taylor had been employed at the college for 46 years. So we know that beginning in 1917 she was associated closely for decades with the
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college’s founding family and was one of the most beloved and recognizable figures in the village of Buies Creek. Born on March 2, 1894, in Loris, South Carolina, she was the first of 13 children. She had to take on adult duties quickly, learning to cook standing on a stool at the stove. At 13, she was married, and her early years were challenging. After the death of her first husband, and only about 20 at the time, she found her way to the Buies Creek community and worked in the household of Billy Green, a local farmer. Leslie Campbell married into the Green family, and when he took the reins at the college after the death of his father, [school founder] James A. Campbell, Taylor agreed to help his wife Ora with cooking and the rearing of their children.
Ada Jane Elizabeth Taylor was with the Leslie Campbell family for about 20 years. Guests of the college often had their feet under the Campbell family table and enjoyed Taylor’s Southern fare. She moved to the staff of the college dining hall where she became head cook and kitchen supervisor for more than two decades. Later, the kitchen at Marshbanks Cafeteria was named in her honor. Campbell students, many of whom worked in the cafeteria, knew Taylor because she was ever present at meal time and an imposing personality. Her second husband, Fisher, known locally as “Fish,” as well as her son Jersey and wife Gracie all were on the staff at Campbell. Three grandsons were
ALUMNI NOTES MAMA DIP’S SWEET POTATO BISCUITS Spring Council Ingredients: 2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes 1 stick butter, melted 1 1/4 cups milk 4 cups self-rising flour pinch baking soda 3 tablespoons sugar Directions: Mix together the sweet potatoes, butter, and milk until well blended. Stir in the flour, baking soda, and sugar. Shape the dough into a ball and knead about 8 to 10 times on a wellfloured board. Roll the dough out 1 inch thick and cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Bake in a greased baking pan in a 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until brown. Makes about 15 From MAMA DIP’S KITCHEN. © 1999 by Mildred Council. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press.
OLD-SCHOOL CHESS PIE WITH MOLASSES WHIPPED CREAM
DR. BOB BARKER (’65) and his wife, DR. PAT BARKER, were
Nancie McDermott Ingredients: For the Pie Pastry for a 9-inch single-crust pie 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 tablespoon cornmeal 1/4 teaspoon salt 3 eggs, beaten well 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup butter melted
For the Molasses Whipped Cream: 1 ½ cups heavy cream 2 tablespoons molasses or sorghum syrup 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9-inch pie pan with crust, then crimp the edges decoratively. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cornmeal, and salt. Use a fork to stir them together well. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, vinegar, and vanilla and stir to mix everything well. Add the sugar mixture and the butter. Stir well, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl. Mix and stir to combine everything into a smooth, thick filling. Pour it into the piecrust. Place the pie in the middle of the 325 degree F oven. Bake until the edges puff up and the center is fairly firm, wiggling only a little when you gently nudge the pan, 45 to 55 minutes. For the whipped cream: In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, beat the cream until thickened and beginning to hold its shape well. Add the sorghum syrup and sugar and continue beating, stopping to scrape down the sides, until the cream is thick, billowy, plump and holding its shape very well. Chill until serving time. From SOUTHERN PIES: A GRACIOUS PLENTY OF PIE RECIPES, FROM LEMON CHESS TO CHOCOLATE PECAN. © 2010 by Nancie McDermott
in her household: Steve, Willie and Ike and a granddaughter. The library at Campbell University is named for former President Norman A. Wiggins and his wife Millie Harmon Wiggins. Mrs. Wiggins survived Dr. Wiggins by several years. When their home was being closed, a couple of shelves of cookbooks were discovered, including one of recipes contributed by staff and faculty at Campbell University. They had all the signs of use, with markers inserted at some of Mrs. Wiggins’ favorite recipes. Agreement was quickly reached that the books would go to the Wiggins Library and become the core of an Ada Taylor Culinary Collection in memory of this early Campbell stalwart who died in the late 1960s. The collection of several hundred volumes is focused on regional cookbooks, including many spiral back publications — now extremely collectable, as well as significant works by
American writers on selected culinary topics. Since the construction of the new Oscar N. Harris Student Union, Marshbanks Cafeteria has been idle and awaits a new role. The Ada Taylor Kitchen is no longer the beehive that it was when Taylor was in charge there. So it is an appropriate time for the establishment of an Ada Taylor Culinary Collection to keep alive her legacy and, as the 1963 Pine Burr put it, pay tribute “to her long and tireless association with Campbell College,” which we now proudly call “Campbell University,” and the lives of the founding Campbell family. No one is gone as long as someone calls their name. Ada Jane Elizabeth Taylor. o o o Carroll Leggett (’63) is a longtime writer currently living in Winston-Salem. Leggett also serves on the Alumni Board of Directors.
recognized as N.C. Main Street Champions in March by Fuquay-Varina Mayor Blake Massengill at the FuquayVarina Arts Center. The Barkers were one of 33 champions recognized for their dedication to downtown revitalization and focus on making their communities stronger. The North Carolina Onsite Water Protection Hall of Fame was renamed to the Steve Steinbeck Onsite Water Protection Hall of Fame after STEVEN STEINBECK (‘69), who served the N.C. Department of Environment & Natural Resources for 28 years. ��������������������������
1970s ANGELA GODWIN (’71)
retired from teaching in 2019 after nearly 33 years as a teacher and middle school principal for Cape Fear Christian Academy in Dunn. DAVID MATTHEWS (’72) was
inducted into the Forbush High School Hall of Fame in 2022. Matthews was a part of Forbush’s first graduating class in 1968, playing baseball and basketball while earning all-conference honors. He later coached women’s basketball, softball and cross country at Forbush and was part of multiple conference championship and state championship teams.
MIKE MOONEY (’74) retired
after serving 40 years in the aerospace industry.
CAMPBELL UNIVERSITY 53
ALUMNI NOTES 1980s FRED WHITFIELD (’80 MBA)
was named to the board of directors for O’Reilly Automotive Inc. in November. Whitfield has served as president, vice chairman, alternate governor and minority owner of Hornets Sports & Entertainment in Charlotte, and during his tenure, he has overseen all areas of business operations and strategy for the Charlotte Hornets and Spectrum Center, including sales, marketing, public relations, legal, finance and human resources. Penelope Rose McCullough was born Aug. 31, to Ikeem and Sarah McCullough. Penelope is the granddaughter of CAROL GAY (‘81) and
WAYNE STEPHENSON (‘81, ‘84), the niece of DR. LENZY STEPHENSON (‘10), the great granddaughter of MARTHA STEPHENSON (Campbell
JUAN AUSTIN (’86) was
named Outstanding Alumnus of the Year by the LundyFetterman School of Business in October. Austin is the senior vice president for social impact, sustainability and community relations within Wells Fargo Foundation. He is a current board member for the N.C. Community Foundation, N.C. Business Committee for Education, Campbell Business School Advisory Council, Campbell Board of Trustees and Mount Zion Baptist Church. TRACY CARTER (’89) retired
as sheriff of Lee County in North Carolina after 34 years in law enforcement and 15 years as sheriff. Carter was elected to four consecutive terms before his retirement.
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Photo by Ben Brown
College) and the great, great granddaughter of OTHA GREGORY (BCA).
ALEX BAUMANN (‘15)
SHARED EXPERIENCES The friendships she formed in college shaped the Campbell experience for Alumni’s communications director
lex Baumann first saw Campbell University through the eyes of her older sister, Andrea, who transferred to Campbell while Alex was still in high school. Alex would visit campus a few times before her own college
applications began, but what impressed her most about the school was the Campbell her sister would bring home. “She was really proud of her Campbell people and also really proud of her family, so I think it was important to her to see them connect,” Baumann says. “She absolutely was not embarrassed by her parents like some students are, and so her friends would come to our house all the time. So, really, Campbell came to me much more than I went to Campbell, and I knew that’s what I wanted after high school.” Campbell was an easy choice for Baumann, and she’s happy to say today that her college experience was also defined most by the friends she made during her four years. She earned her degree in psychology in 2015 and a master’s in counseling from NC State
ALUMNI NOTES two years later. Toward the end of her time at Campbell, she met with the director of career services to talk about post-graduation options, and one of Baumann’s first questions kind of caught the director off guard. “I asked, ‘What do you do?’ and I think she was prepared to give me career advice, but I repeated, ‘No … what do you do?’” Baumann recalls. She liked the idea of working in higher education, and her decision to pursue a master’s degree in counseling and study college counseling and student development was driven by that idea. In 2017, with master’s in hand, Baumann applied for an open position in Campbell’s Office of Annual Giving, part of the overall Advancement team. Four years later, the communications director position for Alumni Engagement was available. It all just made sense to Baumann.
“Not all of our alumni have email, or not all of them answer text messages,” she says. “That’s why we utilize all forms — from the magazine to social media to face-to-face meetings. You have to be able to step outside of yourself and not only look at other people’s worldviews, but their comfort levels, too.” Campbell University alumni, Baumann says, have a strong loyalty to their alma mater. She has several ideas about why this is the case, but in the end, that loyalty needs to be rewarded with an office that addresses their concerns, celebrates their victories and supports their endeavors. “When I ask [alumni and students], ‘What was or is your favorite part of your Campbell experience, they almost always talk about the community they were a part of,” she says. “And like me, they talk about their friendships — being a part of a community and forming those bonds. It’s really deep. And I’m going to be honest, that was the most important part of it for me.”
“Counseling made me a better listener, and it Alex Baumann (right) got to know Campbell University while in high school while her older sister, Andrea Padgett improved my (pictured), attended. Baumann says it was the friendships ability — a lot — to she saw her sister make that first attracted her to see other people’s Campbell. Photo by Ashley Stephenson worldviews that are different than In recent years, mine,” she says. several alumni “This helps anybody who’s in a position where chapters have formed throughout the state and they have to interact with people, but even region, and social media continues to grow as a more here, where I get to talk to alumni from all way for alumni to stay connected to Campbell. different generations. And I’d like to think I do a The Office of Alumni Engagement has also good job of listening and really hearing them — I launched “Orange Owned” programs for alumni want to be their advocate.” entrepreneurs and peer mentor programs like CamelLink, which allows alumni to share their She remains an advocate for students, as well. experiences with current students to help them Baumann continues to work with student in both school and starting their careers. Call Team members and advises the Student Alumni Ambassador program. What she has To learn more, alumni can reach Alex Baumann learned from dealing with students is that by email at email@example.com or by communication works best when it’s done in a calling (910) 814-5216. “multi-touch” approach. In other words, there BILLY LIGGETT are all sorts of ways to get the word out — a solid communicator learns all of those ways.
1990s CECIL DAVIS (‘92) was awarded
NCAP 2021 Chronic Care Pharmacist of the Year. This honor recognizes a pharmacist who has made significant contributions to their area of practice. NOAH VILLANUEVA (’94) joined
the Kentucky Career CenterLincoln Trail as business solutions team lead in November. In the role, Villanueva works closely with local employers to connect them with skilled job seekers and provide oversight of business services and activities at the center. Villanueva, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, joins the center after more than 26 years of experience in industry and service. Most recently, he served as the chief of marketing at Fort Knox, where he oversaw outreach and events, recruitment and retention. DANA GIBSON (’96) joined
Reality Executives of Hickory in February, specializing in marketing and sales of real estate. Gibson is a member of the Catawba Valley Association of Realtors and the national and state Realtor associations. LYNN WILLIAMS (’96) was
named grand marshal of the Mount Olive Christmas Parade in December. Williams is the assistant corporate secretary and public relations manager at Mt. Olive Pickle Company and has been recognized for her volunteer work as co-chair of the awardwinning N.C. Pickle Festival. She helped spearhead the inaugural Pickles, Pigs & Swigs festival, and she recently earned the Ruff Huggins Lifetime Community Service Award and a key to the town of Mount Olive.
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ALUMNI NOTES John T. Capps, a 1966 graduate of Campbell Collge, was a dedicated philanthropist and lifelong Rotarian. He had a huge sense of humor to go with his huge heart — founding the national Bald-Headed Men of America organization, which held its first national convention in Morehead City in 1979. Capps died in January of this year at the age of 80.
since his passion for service wasn’t the only thing Capps inherited from the men in his family.
Like his father and grandfather, Capps began losing his hair in high school. By the time he was photographed for the Pine Burr at Campbell College, it was waving goodbye (he got elected to the student council on the slogan “Vote for Bald John!”), and by the time he graduated and sought employment, only a fringe above the ears remained. Capps had gotten used to the idea of losing his hair as a teenager, but to his surprise, it impacted his career search. After a days-long interview with a national financial institution, he was informed his balding head did not fit the youthful, dynamic corporate image the organization was going for.
JOHN T. CAPPS (1941-2022)
MAKING HEADWAY Alumnus embraced his receding hairline in college and became an advocate for bald men everywhere
he version of John T. Capps presented in the 1965 Pine Burr yearbook seems almost destined for a life of civic service. He stands in the back row of the student government’s judicial branch. He smiles with the officers of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity and the 4-H club.
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His college endeavors were a good predictor of the kind of community-loving, serviceoriented man he would become. In fact, just a few weeks after graduation in 1968, Capps followed his father and grandfather into the Rotary Club of Kinston. But a fourth photo in the Pine Burr rounds out Capps’ legacy and shows the confidence and the absurdist sense of humor he was known for. Tucked away in the Harvest Festival section, Capps appears in a ridiculous costume as a competitor in an “Ugliest Man” contest. “We take ourselves too seriously,” Capps once wrote. “I am not a great Rotarian; I just toil daily in the cornfields of life to bring thoughtfulness, a few laughs and sometimes tears of joy by serving others.” His ability to poke fun at himself served him well in his 54-year Rotary career. Especially
Capps took the rejection in stride, but it got him thinking. He knew he couldn’t be the only bald man to be demoralized by hair loss. That self-deprecating humor kicked in, and in 1972, Capps founded the BaldHeaded Men of America organization — “the only organization that will grow due to lack of growth,” he used to say. His father and uncle were its first members. Networking like the Chamber of Commerce president he was, Capps set about turning his fledgling club into “America’s fastest-growing fun organization.” The tongue-in-cheek society grew surprisingly quickly into a strange mix of self-help and volunteer opportunities for balding men, all while providing positive support for those “making headway.”
ALUMNI NOTES Puns abounded. The club was featured on the television show “To Tell the Truth” in 1974 and on ABC News in 1975. A piece in the Dunn Dispatch turned into stories in the National Star, the National Observer and Time Magazine. In 1979, the Bald-Headed Men of America held its first convention in Morehead City, where Capps would soon become Charter President of the Rotary Club. By 1980, the club had been seen on CBS, NBC, CNN, PBS, Nova, and BBC. Capps was a bald icon. Capps’ charisma and humor drew in upwards of 30,000 dues-paying members from all 50 states and several countries. High-profile members included former President Gerald Ford, who accepted honorary membership with a letter, plus sportscaster Joe Garagiola, weatherman Willard Scott, and actors Telly Savalas and Scatman Crothers. The organization even had a quarterly newsletter, “The Chrome Dome.” All the while, Capps was building a distinguished career outside the realm of bald-headedness. He was the owner of a printing business and president of the Morehead City Chamber of Commerce. In 1981, Capps became Charter President of the Rotary Club of Morehead CityNoon. He participated in thirty-five Rotary International Conventions, was featured on the cover of The Rotarian, and served as Chief Sergeant-At-Arms for the 2005 Centennial and 2011 New Orleans Conventions. He attended five sessions of the Council on Legislation, and in 1985, he served as Rotary District 7730 Governor in Eastern North Carolina. He wrote a book, “How To Survive Your Year As A Leader.” He traveled to India often with his wife, Jane, working with Rotary International on polio eradication efforts. He was known around town for his heart for the homeless, at one point letting a man camping near his print shop live
inside for a while. He proudly served in the National Guard. He cared deeply for his fellow man, and he showed it — serving with his church, Hope Mission, Elks Lodge 1710, The Salvation Army and Boys and Girls Club of Cartaret County on top of his Rotary work. Morehead City Noon Rotary honored Capps and his wife for a lifetime of service by creating a $25,000 Rotary Foundation endowment fund known as the Jane and John T. Capps “Enthusiasm” Endowment. Along with the endowment, the town of Morehead City named May 11, 2021, John T. Capps Day, and Mayor Jerry Jones presented Mr. Capps with a symbolic key to the city. Capps was a recipient of the NC Long Leaf Pine Award, the Pioneer Award in Polio eradication, Joseph R. Barwick Award Carteret Community College, The Rotary Foundation Meritorious Award, Service Above Self Award, and the Rotary Distinguished Service Award by the time he passed away in his Morehead City home at the age of 80. Those honors will live on, but so will Capps’ humor. His many witticisms were quoted in magazines and newspapers and chanted at annual Bald-Headed Men of America gatherings. “The Lord is just. The Lord is fair. He gave some brains and the others hair,” the crowd would shout with Capps, who once turned away a popular hair-growth product marketing team that wanted to advertise in the hotel during the Bald is Beautiful Convention. The conference, he insisted, was created to boost men’s confidence, not exploit their insecurities. In everything he did, Capps found a way to instill laughter and kindness. His optimism, charisma and humanitarian spirit made the world — like his bald head — shine a little bit brighter. KATE STONEBURNER
2000s JASON JAMES (’01 LAW)
started a new law firm, James DeNobriga, PLLC, in Charlotte. The firm focuses on construction, business litigation and mediations. RICKY RAY (’01) was
named deputy athletics director at William & Mary in December. Ray had previously served as the deputy athletics director at Campbell University. As head of external operations, Ray serves as William & Mary Athletics’ chief business strategist, responsible for brand management, marketing, donor and fan experience, creative services and ticketing and sales. LEWIS SHEATS (’05 MBA) joined
Saint Louis University’s Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business as the new director of the Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship in November. Sheats was the assistant vice provost for entrepreneurship at North Carolina State University and executive director of the North Carolina State Entrepreneurship Clinic. SLU’s Center for Entrepreneurship helps entrepreneurs combine their passion with business skills to produce high-performing organizations. PAUL GRANGER (‘05) released his first devotional, “A Journey through Revelation (for the person who doesn’t want to read Revelation),” on Amazon as part of a broader content creation effort — including his podcast “Where did you see God?” — alongside YWAM Richmond. BRENT TANNER (’07 LAW)
was sworn in to serve on the Carthage Board of Commissioners in December. Tanner is a local attorney specializing in family law.
Photos of John T. Capps from the 1965 Pine Burr yearbook (with the judicial club on the far right). MAGAZINE.CAMPBELL.EDU
CAMPBELL UNIVERSITY 57
ALUMNI NOTES KRISTIN RICE (’08) was
promoted to general counsel at the North Carolina Office of the Commissioner of Banks. In this role, Rice oversees the legal function of the NCCOB focusing on financial services regulation, state-agency policy matters and non-bank financial service delivery to North Carolinians. She also deals with the legal issues that affect public agency administration. DANIEL SMITH (‘09) was named chief investment officer at Piedmont Trust Company in Greensboro. Piedmont Trust is a privately owned trust company and family office specializing in multi-generational wealth management. Smith has been with Piedmont since 2014.
2010s DAVID COX (‘10) was promoted
to commercial branch manager at Sherwin Williams in Bluffton, South Carolina.
ANDREA STREB PADGETT (‘12, ‘15) and MATT PADGETT (‘16) welcomed their son, Luke Padgett, on July 31. Andrea and Matt both teach health and physical education at Fuquay-Varina Middle School.
JOSEPH LATINO (‘11) welcomed
his daughter, Genevieve Louise Latino, on Dec. 25, 2021. Genevieve weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and was 19.5 inches long. Attorney BRAD SALMON (’11 LAW) was
appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper to serve as District Court Judge for District 11 covering Lee, Harnett and Johnston counties in November. Salmon is a founding partner of The Salmon Law Firm, where he focused on criminal law, civil matters and wills and estates, and he served as a defense attorney for the District 11A Veterans Treatment Court. From 2014 to 2016, Salmon served in the North Carolina General Assembly representing Harnett and Lee Counties (District 51).
COURTNEY MANESS (’20) and DALTON DOWD (’20) announced their
engagement, which took place on Dec. 24. The couple plans to marry in the spring of 2023.
UPDATE YOUR INFO
MEAGAN SHAFFER (‘16) is engaged to Preston Perry. Their
wedding will take place on May 21, in Butler Chapel.
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ALUMNI NOTES HENRY “HANK” RAPER (’11, ’15 LAW) was
named town manager in Farimont, North Carolina, in 2021. Raper is the former town manager in Nashville, N.C. JONATHAN DAVIDSON (‘12)
and his wife announced they are expecting their first child in June. STEVEN CLARK (’12) was chosen
to serve on the Elkhart City Council in January. Clark is a U.S. Army veteran, who in addition to being a graduate of the army’s Ranger School, he also served in Iraq. A former Elkhart County prosecutor who prosecuted organized crime and felony drug cases, Clark is currently general manager for R. Yoder Construction.
NOLAN R. PERRY (‘13, ‘16)
was elected as board chair of the Fuquay-Varina Chamber of Commerce. Perry also serves as board chair of the Carolina Charter Academy in Angier. STEPHEN E. FLETCHER (’14 MBA) joined EVOadvisers
LINDSEY JENNINGS (‘19) and DANIEL NUGENT (18, ‘21) were married on March 27, at Hayes Barton UMC in Raleigh.
Lindsey is the executive assistant for the North Carolina Education Corps, and Daniel graduated in December from Campbell’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Lindsey and Daniel live in Clayton.
as a lead financial planner. He is responsible for successfully maintaining client relationships, developing and implementing financial plans and investment recommendations while overseeing the planning team. JORDAN SMITH (’14 LAW) was appointed county attorney by the Pitt County Board of Commissioners in January. Smith has worked in Pitt County Government since 2014 with prior service in the assistant and deputy attorney roles. EMILY BRATTON (’15 MBA) was
TAYLOR WILKINS (‘20) and JACOB CREIGHTON were engaged
on Dec. 15. Their wedding will take place on May 20.
WILLIAM MCGUIRT (‘84) retired from his position of attorney for the Union County Sheriff’s Office in 2017, and he married Sherry (Outen) McGuirt on Oct. 19, 2019.
named vice president, senior private banker at Fifth Third Bank.
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ALUMNI NOTES JOSHUA BUSSEY (‘15) married NIKITA BUSSEY (‘18) on July 10.
Thomas Harper spent more than seven years on active duty as an officer and attorney with the Army JAG Corps. He also deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, where he advised on rules of engagement, the law of armed conflict, and international law.
KAYLYN DEAVER (’16)
was named an Outstanding Young Alumni of the LundyFetterman School of Business in October. Currently a tax manager for The Real Estate CPA, Deaver specializes in partnership taxation and serves the firm’s largest syndication clients. She has a passion for investing in the next generation of business students, serving as alumni mentors for the School of Business and launching two internship programs at various companies throughout her career. SUSAN SIERER (‘17 MDIV)
accepted a call to serve as the rector of Christ Church in South Riding, Virginia. JERREL DEAVER (’17, ’21 MBA)
was named an Outstanding Young Alumni of the LundyFetterman School of Business in October. Deaver is a wealth planning consultant for BMO Harris Bank in Austin, Texas. JESSICA HAMMONDS (‘18) and MGySgt. Danny Hammons tied the knot on Anna Maria Island in Florida Oct. 26. Jessica works as an emergency department travel nurse. SARAH HOLBERT (‘18), formerly
an application specialist at Pricewater-house-Coopers in Fayetteville, started a new position as a process improvement analyst in the Corporate Development Division.
ROBERT SARGENT (‘18) married Pamela Katrina Pareja Sargent on Aug. 20.
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Harper said his legal experiences in the military have been “exceptionally helpful” in his new job. “I run a set of programs devoted to the law of armed conflict and I spent a significant chunk of my time as a JAG officer practicing in that field of law, including in Afghanistan. My service provides me with a unique frame of reference for this area of law, having practiced it in a combat zone and seen it in action,” he said.
THOMAS HARPER (‘10 LAW)
THE LAW OF WAR Law alumnus called onto carry out government’s obligations during armed conflicts or natural disaster; a ‘beacon of hope in the toughest times’
homas Harper spent a year in Afghanistan advising soldiers on the legal ramifications of a strategy or order. Now, he is the senior legal advisor of International Humanitarian Law for the American Red Cross, an area he describes as “the law of armed conflict.” “IHL is the body of international law that serves to reduce suffering and protect the innocent in times of armed conflict, including civilians, cultural property and prisoners of war,” said Harper, a 2010 Campbell Law graduate who spent seven years on active duty. “My team is charged with carrying out the United States government’s obligations under the Geneva Conventions (and) to disseminate IHL education to the public. A public that is educated and understands the laws of war is better able to demand that these laws be observed and respected during times of conflict, thereby helping to reduce suffering.”
Harper is still a reservist and is required to serve a minimum of 16 hours a month and 14 active duty days per year. In the Reserves he is a senior criminal defense attorney, representing soldiers in JAG court and supervising a team of 13 younger defense counsel. He is also used to the possibility of going into action any time. “While I can’t speak for particulars for the larger organization, the demand for Red Cross assistance has only skyrocketed in recent years,” he said. “From the uptick in natural disasters to the Afghanistan withdrawal effort, there’s never a lull in demand for the humanitarian relief the organization provides. Fortunately, I’m proud to work for an organization that has consistently met the call time and again, fulfilling our status as a beacon of hope in the toughest times.” Several family members attended Campbell, and Harper said his first visit to the campus convinced him to enroll. He said his time at Campbell helped prepare him for trials in courtrooms and trials on the battlefield. “The combination of an unmatched work ethic and attention to detail has been invaluable,” he said. “Professors Rick Lord and Woody Woodruff were two of the toughest professors at the school, but they both helped shape me into the attorney and military officer I am today. Professor Lord was the epitome of an intellectually intimidating professor, but he genuinely cared about molding every single student into an outstanding attorney.” He said Woodruff, a retired Army JAG officer, taught an infamously tough evidence course, “but
ALUMNI NOTES his commitment to excellence made me into the trial attorney I am today,” said Harper, who spent seven years on active duty in the Army. “Campbell’s approach to shaping students with practical knowledge under exacting standards was instrumental in my own development,” he added. Harper was on active duty in the Army for a little more than seven years. He has been serving in the Army since 2002 when I originally enlisted in the Army Reserves. After completing Army ROTC he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. After the Army, Harper practiced law in Pennsylvania, a mix of workers compensation followed by commercial real estate and land development law.
“This position seemed tailor-made for me,” he said. “I started my practice of law in this field, having advised on combat operations in southern Afghanistan in 2012 and 2013. After coming home, I regularly trained active duty soldiers on the law of armed conflict, helping prepare them to deploy and face significant challenges. Although my JAG career eventually steered me into a different field of law, my passion for IHL never faded,” he said. Keeping people informed about IHL issues, said Harper, became a hobby, albeit a serious one. He began posting on a legal blog and podcast called The Legal Geeks, to which he still contributes.
“I was fortunate enough to be able to take that hobby and once again Then, his world make it my daily job, became smaller when which was a dream he was approached come true. Although about joining the Red most people may Cross before his world not fully realize, IHL became bigger when he issues make headlines joined the organization. Thomas Harper attended Campbell Law School regularly. From the when it was still located in Buies Creek — the Afghanistan withdrawal “A colleague of mine move to Raleigh happened during his third and to recent high profile who I served with in final year. he says his time at Campbell prepared courts-martial of service Afghanistan previously him for both trials in the courtroom and trials on members for IHL held the position and the balltefield. Photo: avvo.com violations, Americans reached out to let me are hearing about and know that she had discussing IHL on a regular basis, from the workplace moved on to another opportunity and thought I to the dinner table,” he said. “All too often those would be a good fit for the team,” said Harper. “The conversations are being had without a full awareness icing on the cake was that my current boss was my or understanding of IHL, which can greatly first boss on active duty — I served under him in influence people’s opinions of an event. The ability Afghanistan and thought the world of him, so it to help change that narrative and close that gap in helped make the decision even easier when they knowledge is tremendously important to me.” eventually offered me the job.” JOHN COURALIS
LEGAL GEEK When he’s not working with the Red Cross as an advisor for International Humanitarian Law, Thomas Harper can be found writing about, speaking on or taking part in the “geekier” side of pop culture. A massive Star Wars fan and collector, Harper is a popular writer for the website, thelegalgeeks.com, which analyzes the legal side of sci-fi, fantasy and comic book movies. Harper has written about everything from the legality of Princess Leia’s imprisonment in “A New Hope” to Ahsoka’s legal options in “The Clone Wars.” His musings can be found on Twitter @thomasLharper.
DR. MARY FOGLER (’18 DO) joined
Decatur County Memorial Hospital in Indiana, specializing in primary care. Fogler has extensive experience working with atrisk populations and provides care for all ages. She also specializes in holistic and obstetrical care, including pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum care. PRATIBHA CHAUDHARI (’19)
traveled to India to marry her husband on Feb. 21. The couple both work in the pharmaceutical industry. TAYLOR MESSER (‘19) married TYSON MESSER (‘20) on Jan. 22.
2020s DARLYS GIBSON (’20) accepted
a new position at Navy Federal in Fayetteville.
KAYLEE TOMS (‘20) is pursuing a
graduate degree in counseling at Campbell University has accepted a full-time position at the University in the Career Services department.
Former Fighting Camel soccer player JAKE MORRIS (’21) was signed by the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer in January. Morris scored seven goals and had nine assists in two seasons (28 appearances) with Campbell in 2020-2021. ANNA STARLING (‘21)
is a fourth grade teacher at Hargrove Elementary in Sampson County.
CAROLINE GARRETT CASEY (’21 LAW) was awarded the Clifton
W. Everett Sr. Community Lawyer Fellowship by Legal Aid of North Carolina. The fellowship is awarded to a recent graduate who is passionate about providing legal services to those living in low-income, rural communities in North Carolina.
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BRIAN DENNING (’02) earned a full Army ROTC scholarship to attend Campbell University and after graduation, he entered active duty as a logistics officer for the U.S. Army, where he served two tours of duty in Iraq attached to the 3rd Infantry Division, and one tour in Afghanistan with the Army Special Ops unit.
He was a highly trained logistics expert, parachutist and rigger, and his tours of duty were all designated as Imminent Danger assignments. Denning died suddenly on Feb. 5, 2022, at the age of 42. In his military life, he earned two Bronze Stars, a Meritorious Service Medal, two Army Commendation Medals and various Campaign and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals. In the nine years he served, he achieved the rank of major and was designated as team chief and special forces battalion logistics officer. After spending several years with Target and Palmetto State Armory in various management roles, Denning joined Schneider Electric in 2015, a multi-national electrical and power management solutions manufacturer headquartered in Nashville. To his friends and family, Denning was known as a great friend and loving husband who had an extraordinary cheerful outlook about life and was an outstanding young executive with a bright future in front of him.
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Ester Howard attended Campbell Junior College during World War II and remained an ardent supporter and advocate for the school for the remaining 80 years of her life. She died in March at the age of 96.
ESTER HOWARD (1925-2022)
CAMPBELL, FOR LIFE Ester Howard left the farm to attend Campbell during WWII, and she remained a faithful supporter of the school for 80 years
ster Howard left the family farm, where her father raised hogs and chickens, to attend Campbell Junior College in 1942 because she wanted to be a teacher. She was one of 10 children — six daughters and four sons — and all four brothers were overseas fighting in World War II when she enrolled in Buies Creek.
And while her college experience was defined by a war thousands of miles away — military exercises, rationing and letter-writing campaigns to support the troops — Campbell had a profound impact on Howard, and she would go on to become a strong advocate and supporter of her alma mater in the many years that followed. Ester Howard died on March 11 at the age of 96. Campbell University will hold a memorial service honoring her life at 2 p.m. on April 11 at the Robert and Anna Gardner Butler Chapel. Interment will follow at Spring Hill United Methodist Church cemetery. Born in Harnett County to Wade and Flora Jane Holder, Howard graduated from Campbell Junior College in 1944 and earned her bachelor’s degree from Meredith College and a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her career as an educator spanned 43 years – 20 years in the classroom and 23 in her role as supervisor of elementary education for Harnett County Schools until 1989.
FRIENDS WE WILL MISS During her career, she remained active as an alumna, serving as a member of the Board of Trustees, the Presidential Board of Advisors and president of the Harnett County Loyalty Campaign, which raised money for student scholarships. Howard herself established three scholarships at Campbell and was a donor to multiple capital campaigns, including the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine, renovations for D. Rich Hall, Wiggins Memorial Library renovations, the John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center, the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business, the Folwell Fountain and Garden and Butler Chapel. In 1994, she was named a Distinguished Alumna of Campbell, and she received the prestigious Presidential Medallion in 2000. She also received the School of Education’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the North Carolina Baptist Heritage Award.
The friends also had the war in common. Hinson had three brothers in the military to Howard’s four. Howard’s cousin, Clyde Stewart, was killed in action, and one of Hinson’s brothers was wounded in Germany. “All I remember during that time is [the war] was just a terrible, terrible thing,” Howard recalled. “It was a struggle for so many people. Not as much for those of us back home, but still a struggle. Food was rationed … I remember we had to ration our gas, our sugar and tea, and even our shoes. I remember vividly having to find a coupon or a ticket in order to buy shoes.” Howard lived most of her life in her hometown, her home built along the Cape Fear River in the Keith Hills community. She was an active member in the greater Harnett County community, where she has served as president of the Cape Fear Friends of the Fine Arts Executive Committee and president of Friendly Homemakers, an organization under the direction of the state Cooperative Extension Agency.
Howard was featured in a 2014 Campbell Magazine story about her friendship with Naomi Hinson, which began their freshman year in 1942 Naomi Hinson, Ester Howard and their roommate and lasted nearly 80 Mary Alice Stevenson in front of Treat Dormitory in She was named years. The girls, both 1942. Hinson and Howard would remain close friends Woman of Distinction for the next 80 years. of whom grew up on a by the Gamma Pi farm, were paired as Chapter of Alpha Delta roommates in Treat Kappa, a sorority that recognizes outstanding Dormitory, and they hit it off on Day 1. educators, and she held life memberships in the “I think the Lord put us together,” Hinson said back in 2014. “We had similar experiences coming in. Both of us were raised on a farm by Christian parents. Neither of us knew what it was like to stay home from church on a Sunday. My mother and father taught me how to make it when the time came to leave home. I met Ester’s mother and her brother and sister … their family was raised the same way. The Lord put us together. I really believe that.”
Harnett County Friends of the Library, the North Carolina Association of School Administrators, the North Carolina Association of Educators, the Campbell University Friends of the Library, Friends of Education, and the Friends of the Fine Arts. She was also a past president of the Buies Creek Woman’s Club, the Garden Club and the Buies Creek Book Review.
DAVID LEE WHITEMAN passed away peacefully on April 6, at age 75, after a long battle with a rare blood disease. The man was something of a cat, as he flirted with death a few other times, but always bounced back, ready for the next adventure.
If you knew him, you know he loved life, and he always had more to do — more places to explore, more people to meet, more deep conversations to engage in, more fun to have, more books to read and theories to ponder, more time to spend with the people he loved. Even when, toward the end, he was physically limited and was mostly confined to his home, he found a new hobby in cooking ambitious meals. He was curious and open and thoughtful, he was full of love and wonder, and he was funny and mischievous. He knew that in order to become a better person, or Christian, or husband, he had to be open to growth and change. He knew how to apologize and could surprise you with the depth and thoroughness of his communication. He never met a philosophy he didn’t want to unpack, or a problem he didn’t want to solve. He chose to give to the world around him by devoting himself to God and to the people he loved, and to people who needed him. David Lee Whiteman was pastor at Memorial Baptist Church in Buies Creek for 26 years until 2013 and an adjunct instructor of religion at Campbell University for 22 years until 2012. The world is an emptier place without him in it. He will be greatly missed. LISA WHITEMAN
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FROM THE EDITOR
A STORY WE NEED TO HEAR
rite about extraordinary people for as long as I have, and you’re bound to come across a person or two whose stories transcend my abilities to properly tell them. I’ve ended many interviews with the very genuine line, “You’ve got a great story; I hope I can do it justice.” There have been very few where I simply knew I couldn’t. I wasn’t supposed to write about Dr. Farishta Ali back in December when I drove to Raleigh to watch Campbell health science students work a free clinic for refugees of Afghanistan, where 35,000 men, women and children left their homes and their livelihood to escape Taliban rule following the United States military’s withdrawal in 2021. The story was our students — providing an invaluable service to a group of people who needed it and gaining experience in their fields while doing so. Ali was among many white coats at Forest Hills Baptist Church that day, and while the young Fayetteville physician did her work from inside a Campbell University mobile health clinic in the parking lot, she was neither Campbell student, alumna nor faculty. Ali wasn’t the story. Yet ... Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, she was 3 when her father — a pharmacist and professor who was a passionate advocate for education — was killed by the Taliban. An older brother was killed a few years earlier. When her family fled Afghanistan, they hid in a vegetable truck (her mother and seven children) to cross the border into Pakistan. They lived as refugees in Pakistan, their mother unable to go outside without a man with her. She couldn’t earn a living for her family, so Ali and her brothers and sisters sold grocery bags at the supermarket and begged on the streets. I’m hurrying through this, I know. Like I said, I’m not doing it justice. While she begged, Ali would watch other kids go to school each day, wearing backpacks and school uniforms and just being children. She would sit on the other side of the windows outside of the school and watch the class — sometimes sneaking in to feel what it was like to sit at a desk. And because she couldn’t “dress like a girl” outside, she wore boys clothes, had her head shaved and introduced herself as a boy with a boy’s name to strangers. Ali talks about the small apartment with no kitchen. No plumbing. She has to take a deep breath.
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“The thing is,” she says, “as someone who’s passionate about psychiatry, I need to be able to process this. Instead of suppressing it, I need to express it.” Her family made it to the welcoming arms of the United States in early September, 2001. A week later, the Taliban became everybody’s enemy. After 9/11, her new country wasn’t as welcoming. It didn’t know Ali and her family shared in this pain. It didn’t ask. “How do you tell people, ‘Yes, I’m Afghan, and I know what’s going on in the news. But I suffered, too. I know all about loss,’” she says. Ali had no real educational background when she took her first ESL classes and was placed in the second grade at a school in Texas. Her desire to learn kicked in, and she excelled. She was awarded for being the top reader in her elementary school. She learned English through books. What Ali learned from her childhood was that there are things in your life that are out of your control. It’s how you learn from those experiences and handle the things you can control that lead to happiness and success. High school became college, college became med school. Her MD led her to North Carolina, and in December, 2021, her career led her to a Campbell mobile unit, where she treated mothers who shared her own mother’s experience and children who escaped horrors only she could understand on that day. “Being here is very, very special to me,” she said. “And I’m not trying to let it affect me, but today reminds me of everything that I went through to get to where I am now. I know the trauma these people are under and what they went through, and I know it’s difficult for them. They’re scared about the uncertainty before them. I want to help them and tell them there’s a bright future and to tell them they’re safe now. It’s possible to go after your dreams, and it’s possible to have opportunities. “These are things they need to hear.” I cannot do Dr. Farishta Ali’s story justice, and I’m content with this. But it was a story I needed to hear, and, despite the lack of a true Campbell connection (outside of an orange and white mobile unit), one I needed to share.
Billy Liggett | Editor
2012: Construction on the Leon Levine Hall of Medical Sciences began a decade ago when the first metal beams went up along U.S. 421. The building — home to the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine and other health science programs at Campbell — was completed the following year, and the first cohort of students began in fall of 2013. The school will graduate its sixth class of doctors in May and is approaching the 1,000-doctor mark since its first commencement in 2017.
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Post Office Box 567 Buies Creek, NC 27506 www.campbell.edu
PHOTO BY ASHLEY STEPHENSON
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Nonprofit Organization U.S. Postage PAID PPCO