Campbell University

Campbell University is a private university in Buies Creek, North Carolina. Founded in 1887 by a young Baptist minister, J.A. Campbell, the school today enrolls more North Carolinians than any other private university in the state of North Carolina .

Campbell University
MottoAd astra per aspera (Latin)
Motto in English
To the stars through difficulties
Religious affiliation
Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
Academic affiliation
Endowment$124.6 million[1]
Budget$246.6 million[1]
PresidentJ. Bradley Creed
Location, ,

35.4099°N 78.7403°W / 35.4099; -78.7403
CampusRural, 1,500-acre (6.1 km2) main campus
ColorsOrange and black[2]
AthleticsNCAA Division IBig South
Pioneer Football League
Southern Conference (wrestling)
NicknameFighting Camels / Lady Camels

Campbell's main campus in Buies Creek is home to its College of Arts & Sciences, College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Divinity School, School of Education, Lundy-Fetterman School of Business and School of Engineering. The nearby Health Sciences Campus is home to the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine and the Catherine W. Wood School of Nursing. The Raleigh Campus in downtown Raleigh is home to the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, as well as other programs. Campbell also provides online classes through Adult & Online Education, has campuses in Fort Bragg/Pope Air Force Base and at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, and maintains a degree program at Tunku Abdul Rahman College in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Campbell University is home to the Fighting Camels; its athletics programs field 20 NCAA Division I teams.


Buies Creek Academy (1887–1926)

On January 5, 1887, James Archibald Campbell, a 26-year-old Baptist minister, welcomed 16 students to a small church in Buies Creek, North Carolina, for the first day of classes for the school he founded: Buies Creek Academy.[3] By the end of the first term, there were 92 students.

In the beginning days, Buies Creek Academy had just three faculty members: J.A. Campbell was principal; A. E. Booth, a graduate of the Nashville Normal College, served as assistant and teacher of the Normal Department and Business College; and Cornelia F. Pearson was an assistant and teacher in the Primary Department.

The 1887 catalog lauded the rural location: "Being in the country, we avoid many of the temptations incident to towns and cities and save our patrons much extravagance in dress." The first commencement took place on May 20, 1887, and every student participated in the program. Josephus Daniels of Raleigh, an editor of the State Chronicle and later owner of The Raleigh News & Observer, delivered the main address.

Upon his return to Raleigh, he described his impressions of the Academy: "Among my pleasant memories of a trip to Harnett, none are more cherished by me with more fondness than the enjoyment of the excellent commencement exercise at Buies Creek Academy. It was a rare feast. The scholars are not prodigies; they do not surpass other boys and girls in the state, but they recite with ease, enunciate with distinctiveness, and gave choice sections of music and evidence the good training they had received. There was an absence of straining after effect, which was refreshing. There was simplicity and a regard for the fitness of things that are charming. There was an order and arrangement that showed a thoughtful and sensible management. I congratulate the people of Harnett on the excellent advantages Buies Creek Academy offers for the education of the children of the rising generation."

The beginning of the 20th Century ushered in tremendous hardship for the young school. On the evening of December 20, 1900, a suspicious fire destroyed the Academy and all the buildings except for the large wooden tabernacle. Awakened at 3:30 a.m. to witness the destruction, J.A. Campbell recalled: "When I ran up to the fire, the terrible fire, that was burning down chances for poor boys and girls, and I knew that I could not build again ... the flames that destroyed the labor of years [...] the only hope for hundreds of boys and girls was being swept away, I could not bear up longer [...] When they asked me my plans, I said, "Well, there's no chance to go on."

After the fire, Zachary Taylor Kivett came to visit and found Campbell "in bed discouraged to the limit." Kivett said, "Why are you in bed? You're a Campbell. Get a hump on you." Kivett also made a pledge to J.A. Campbell to construct a new stronger, sturdier brick building on the campus. Over the next 478 days, he oversaw and supervised nearly every aspect of the academy's reconstruction, from drawing plans and making brick to sawing the lumber and mixing sand and lime. Within the first few days alone, he had developed the plans to renovate the tabernacle so it could be temporarily used for classroom space; he had arranged for wagons to deliver lumber; and he had brought in carpenters to get to work.[4]

By January 8, 1901, the tabernacle was open to classes. "A steam engine in britches" and "a grand old man," Kivett had been called.

In November 1903, the new brick building had been erected at a cost of $30,000. The completion of the Kivett Building brought new life to the school. The 1909 catalog noted, "It is built of beautiful brick, made on our own grounds, and is an everlasting monument to the love, loyalty, and sacrifices of our friends ... [who] are in itself a constant inspiration to live something high and noble, and to undertake the impossible." The catalog added that Buies Creek Academy and Business College was "a leading preparatory school with military features, business, shorthand, typewriting, telegraphy, art, music and normal departments.

World War I and the "Great Influenza Outbreak" of 1918 had a significant impact on the Academy and the Buies Creek community. According to Dr. Bruce Blackmon, the influenza outbreak also inflicted a serious toll on some families — "If you saw a house and there was no smoke coming out of its chimney, that was an indication that the person responsible for heating the home was no longer alive."

Electric lights came to the campus in 1918. J.A. Campbell secured a $60,000 donation from Mr. B.N. Duke in 1927 to establish modern water and sewage facilities on the campus.

There were 620 students enrolled in the school in 1923, and the first dormitory for boys was completed that year. It later became known as Layton Dormitory.

According to J. Winston Pearce, "The evening of September 26, 1923, was a significant date for the life of the school." That evening D. Rich — treasurer of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company — spent the night in the home of Dr. and Mrs. Campbell, and that morning they asked how he had slept. He replied, "I slept very little," He continued, "No, I did not sleep well. Jesus and I talked together most of the night, and Jesus told me 'Buies Creek must live.'" Rich died the following year and left one eighth of his estate to the academy. He also provided $60,000 for the construction of Carrie Rich Memorial Library in honor of his first wife, as well as the first brick gymnasium and the D. Rich Memorial Building, completed in 1926. These new facilities, as well as competition from the new high schools that were being completed across the state in the 1920s, provided incentives for the Academy to become a junior college.[5]

At the annual Baptist State Convention Meeting in Wilmington in 1925, J.A. Campbell sold his interest in the Academy (appraised at $56,000) to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina for $28,000; the school was then valued at more than $500,000. The Board of Education of the Baptist State Convention recommended unanimously that Buies Creek Academy become a junior college, beginning with the 1927–28 academic session.

At that meeting, the Reverend A. C. Hamby made the motion to change the name from Buies Creek Academy to Campbell College, in honor of its founder. Dean D. B. Bryan of Wake Forest College approved of the name change, and Wake Forest College bestowed on J.A. Campbell the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 1926.

J.A. Campbell died at the age of 72 in 1934. At Campbell's funeral, Dr. Charles E. Maddry of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention proclaimed, "Dr. Campbell was a great servant of God because he early had a divine experience of the saving power of Christ. Because of [Campbell's] great love for others, he literally wore himself out serving them, giving poor boys and girls the chance of an education ... He always saw a future of service in his boys and girls."

Campbell Junior College (1926–1961)

Leslie Hartwell "L.H." Campbell (1892–1970), the oldest son of the founder J.A. Campbell, was the unanimous choice by the Board of Trustees to succeed his father. Leslie was eight years old when the academy burned in December 1900. He remembered attending classes in the converted tabernacle when the Kivett Building was under construction. He graduated from Buies Creek Academy in 1908 and enrolled in Wake Forest College, along with his younger brother Carlyle.[6]

Upon his father's death in 1934, L. H. Campbell at the age of forty-two became the youngest college president in North Carolina. During his long, 33-year tenure as president, he guided the college through many challenges and economic struggles, especially the Depression and World War II. At his 1935 inauguration as the second president of Campbell, he said, "The events of this hour constitute only a link between a past set with marvelous achievement and a future calling for our wholehearted endeavor." He concluded his address stating, "This is no coronation day. Rather, it witnesses the solemn dedication and surrender of all it is in us to a holy cause."

Leslie's major achievement was to expand the institution following World War II, steering Campbell to become a fully accredited co-educational Baptist-affiliated liberal arts and vocational college. Like his father before him, he encouraged students to pursue higher education in spite of economic hardships.

The only campus building constructed in the 1930s was the Dining Hall. It was built in 1933 to accommodate four-hundred students, and was later named for the college's longtime business manager, B.P. Marshbanks Sr.

Paul Green, a 1912 Buies Creek Academy alumnus and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, helped establish the Paul Green Theater, located between the D. Rich Administration Building and the Gym in 1934. in 1937, Campbell was the only junior college in North Carolina to offer courses in drama and journalism for college credit.

During World War II, the enrollment on campus declined from 700 students to around 400. Like many other colleges throughout the country, intercollegiate athletic programs such as football, baseball, basketball, track, and tennis were temporarily suspended during the war years. When many male students went off to fight, space for female boarding students was at a premium; and Layton Annex, which had housed males, was turned over to women. The war also affected food supplies on campus.

"I remember the day the war was formally declared. President Leslie Campbell got the entire student body into one of the large rooms at D. Rich, and had a radio in there. He turned it on, and we heard, live, President Roosevelt declare war." — Dorothea Stewart Gilbert ('46)[6]

By 1957, the enrollment on the main campus reached 1,023 students, and more residential facilities were added to the campus. In 1961, the James A. Campbell Administration Building was dedicated and Bryan Hall for women opened "as a cluster of 12 one-story apartment units grouped around an exterior wall" that could house 200 students. Strickland Hall opened in 1962 to accommodate 132 women, and E. P. Sauls Hall opened that same year to house 131 men. A major building completed on the campus was the 44,000-square-foot Leslie Campbell Hall of Science. This three-story structure originally housed the departments of physics, biology, and chemistry, as well as home economics.

Campbell College achieved senior-college status in 1961. In a speech he delivered on Founder's Day on March 6 of that year, President Campbell said: "On this observance of Founder's Day we stand on a pinnacle from which we have seen in retrospect glimpses of the unfolding drama of this institution for the past 74 years–drama filled with intense human struggle, accompanied here and there with temporary reverses with groping, frequently toward some promised land of destiny, partially 'hidden behind the ranges'; but thank God, with occasional vistas of inviting new tablelands of thrilling achievement just beyond [...] The transformation of Campbell into a senior college is a far more meaningful and involved process than superimposing the junior and senior years upon the already established junior college. Just as the transition from old Buies Creek Academy to a junior college, begun in 1926, in many respects involved the rebirth of the institution, and so now becoming a senior college will result in many modifications in administrative policy and in the program of the institution."[6]


Located in the Sandhills of southeastern North Carolina, the university is nestled in the small unincorporated village of Buies Creek near the Cape Fear River. The Buies Creek census-designated place population was only 2,215 in the 2000 census and the surrounding area remains rural. However, Buies Creek is approximately 33 miles (53 km) south of Raleigh, the state capital, North Carolina's second-largest city, and approximately 33 miles (53 km) north of Fayetteville, North Carolina's sixth-largest city.

The center of campus is Academic Circle, which fronts Leslie Campbell Avenue to the south. Academic Circle is a grass thoroughfare, laced with sidewalks and magnolia trees that is surrounded on the south by dormitories Kitchin Hall (1955) and Baldwin Hall (1958) and along the north by the Frederick L. Taylor Hall of Religion (1973) (Campbell University Divinity School), D. Rich Memorial Building (1923), Kivett Hall (1903) (formerly Law School), Wiggins Hall (1993) (formerly Law School), Butler Chapel (2009) and Britt Hall (1947) (campus bookstore).

North of Academic Circle the buildings flank the newly developed Fellowship Commons, a series of brick sidewalks and gathering places that connect the campus from the west on T.T. Lanier Street to the east on Main Street. In this part of campus are Marshbanks Dining Hall (1934), Leslie H. Campbell Hall of Science (1961), J.P. Riddle Pharmacy Center (1991), Maddox Hall (2007) (Pharmacy School), Pearson Hall (1915), Carrie Rich Memorial Library (1925), Carter Gymnasium (1952) and James A. Campbell Administration Building (1961).

Beyond Fellowship Commons lies the north campus which contains several residence halls along with the Taylor Bott Rogers Fine Arts Center (1984) and the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business (1999). East of Main Street are more of Campbell's athletic facilities including Jim Perry Stadium (baseball), Johnson Memorial Natatorium (swimming), and the John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center as well as the Buies Creek post office.

South of Leslie Campbell Avenue are more residence halls, including the new student apartments in Barker Hall (2005). South of U.S. Highway 421 are athletic fields and Barker–Lane Stadium. The newly constructed 96,000 sq. ft. Leon Levine Hall of Medical Science across Highway 421 hosts the new School of Osteopathic Medicine and the Physician Assistant Program.


Campbell offers over 100 tracks and concentrations; master's programs in business, education, pharmaceutical science, clinical research and divinity; and professional programs in law, pharmacy, physician assistant, physical therapy, and medicine. The University also makes study abroad and other special programs available. In 2012, the undergraduate acceptance rate was reported at 40.5%.[7] Along with Campbell's premier undergraduate programs, the school has also achieved renown for its graduate programs. Since its establishment in 1986, Campbell University School of Pharmacy, now College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, has maintained a 99 percent passage rate on both state and national exams. In ten of the last sixteen years, Campbell Pharmacy students have achieved a 100 percent passage rate on the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX).

The School of Law Class of 2006 scored a 97% passage rate on July's North Carolina Bar Exam, topping all other law schools in the state. Campbell University's Norman A. Wiggins School of Law was featured in the Princeton Review's 2007 edition of the "Best 170 Law Schools" publication. Graduates of the School of Law have frequently led in passage rates on the North Carolina Bar Exam since the school's establishment in 1976, including a 100 percent passage rate in 1994, the first time all members of a graduation class accomplished that feat in North Carolina history.

The School of Law Class of 2015 had an unemployment rate of 17% and 50% of 2015 graduates had obtained long term full-time as an attorney 9 months after graduation, according to statistics provided by the ABA.[8]

The Campbell University Divinity school offers both undergraduate and graduate level degrees. The Divinity School officially opened on August 19, 1996. Thirty-five founding students enrolled the first year of the Divinity school. These students constituted the Charter Class of eighty-four students.

The Lundy-Fetterman School of Business offers a joint MBA with Pharm.D., J.D., and M.Div. students. Also, undergraduate business students have the option of electing to stay a fifth year to earn a joint BBA/MBA. Campbell is a dynamic institution in the wealth management industry by offering a one-of-a-kind degree, the Bachelor of Business Administration in Trust and Wealth Management. Banks and financial institutions from around the country court Campbell students for paid summer internships and for permanent hire upon graduation. The Lundy-Fetterman School of Business also offers one of twenty PGA accredited golf programs in the United States.

In August 2011, the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences launched a master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS). One year later, it began a Master of Science in Public Health degree program. The University is also seeking accreditation for a new Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program with a projected start date of January 2014. The University's newest school, the School of Osteopathic Medicine, welcomed its first class in August 2013. The mission of the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSOM) is to educate and prepare community-based osteopathic physicians in a Christian environment to care for the rural and underserved populations in North Carolina, the Southeastern United States and the nation.

Campbell University also has an Adult and Online Education program with an online campus and campuses at Fort Bragg, NC, Camp Lejeune, NC and RTP in Raleigh, NC. Campbell University's Online Education program was established as a pilot program in 1999. The program originated at the Camp Lejeune Campus and became a separate program in 2004, relocating to the Main Campus.

Student activities


Campbell University fields 20 NCAA Division I sports. As of the 2011–2012 academic year, the Camels rejoined the Big South Conference after a 17-year hiatus during which they served as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Lady Camels' swim team is a member of the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA). The men's wrestling team is an associate member of the Southern Conference.

Men's sports

Women's sports

  • Basketball
  • Lacrosse
  • Cross country
  • Cheerleading
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track
  • Volleyball

Campbell completed the John W. Pope Convocation Center, an athletic complex for basketball, volleyball and wrestling. The facility houses a game basketball court, practice basketball court, practice wrestling room, varsity weight room, student fitness center, plethora of locker rooms, and the Department of Exercise Science. The wrestling team and the volleyball team both have matches and games on the main basketball court.

Pine Burr

The Pine Burr is Campbell University's yearbook, published every year in the spring and given out to the students before final exams.[9]

The Lyricist

The Lyricist is Campbell University's literary magazine, featuring poetry and prose from students and statewide contributors. [10]

The Campbell Times

The Campbell Times is the student newspaper at the university and is published bi-monthly during the spring and fall semesters.


WCCE-FM is an FM radio station broadcasting on frequency 90.1 that was signed on by the university on October 7, 1974. Campbell sold the station in 2007.

Notable students and alumni

Name Class year Notability References
Chris Clemons 2019 basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the NBA [11]
Paul Green 1914 recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Bob Etheridge 1965 former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, North Carolina, 2nd District
Ann Marie Calabria 1983 (School of Law) Judge, North Carolina Court of Appeals
Michelle Koh professional golfer and 2016 Olympian [12]
Cal Koonce 1961 former Major League Baseball pitcher and also Campbell's all-time winningest baseball coach
George Lehmann professional basketball player
John D. Loudermilk 1957 American singer and songwriter
Elaine Marshall 1981 (School of Law) North Carolina Secretary of State
Matt Nelson Internet phenomenon, creator of WeRateDogs [13]
Gaylord Perry 1959 former Major League Baseball pitcher and two-time Cy Young Award winner
Jim Perry 1959 former Major League Baseball pitcher and Cy Young Award winner
John Tyson 1979 (School of Law) Judge, North Carolina Court of Appeals
Norman Adrian Wiggins 1948 former president and chancellor of the university


  1. "About – Campbell University". Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  2. "Color Palette | Campbell University". Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  3. "University History & Milestones | About | Campbell University". University. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  4. "Founders Week 2017: Honoring Z.T. Kivett | News | Campbell University". News. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  5. "Carrie Rich Hall: A History by Campbell University on Exposure". Exposure. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  6. "Campbell University | 125 Years". Issuu. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  7. "Campbell University | Best College | US News". Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  8. 2015 ABA employment questionnarire summary
  9. "Pine Burr Online". Pine Burr Online. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  10. The Lyricist Magazine
  11. url=
  12. rajes paul (April 13, 2014). "Michelle has high hopes as pro golfer – Golf | The Star Online". Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  13. Bloom, Ester (July 19, 2017). "How Matt Nelson of We Rate Dogs turned a college side-hustle into a six-figure business". CNBC.

Other sources

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