"The factors behind Campbell’s success are the longevity of its leadership and the ongoing commitment to the founder’s vision to build a school that was also a place of opportunities. We’re a knowledge industry. We have people here with skills that can be helpful.”
-- Dr. J. Bradley Creed, Campbell University President
Campbell University: Opportunities to Serve, Succeed and Excel
Shortly after assuming his duties as Campbell University’s president July 1, 2015, Dr. J. Bradley Creed began holding “meet and greet” sessions on and off the school’s main campus in Buies Creek. “Two things immediately became clear: the loyalty and commitment,” says Creed. “There’s a lot of passion.”
That Creed is only Campbell’s fifth president in its 129-year history says plenty about its sense of continuity and tradition. “The factors behind Campbell’s success are the longevity of its leadership,” Creed says, “and the ongoing commitment to the founder’s vision to build a school that was also a place of opportunities.”
James Archibald Campbell, a 25-year-old Baptist minister, founded Buies Creek Academy in 1887 at a time when there were no other schools in Harnett County. Its maiden class was all of 16 students, ages 6 to 21.
Today, the school stands as one of only three private universities in North Carolina to achieve the highest level of accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. (The other two are Duke and Wake Forest.)
Campbell University also enrolls today more North Carolinians than any other private school. Over 4,000 of its undergraduate students hail from the state -- about three times the average of the other 35 private schools in North Carolina. Add graduate and professional students, and Campbell enrolls nearly 6,500 students across its main campus, online programs, and branch campuses.
In the spirit of its founder’s vision, Campbell University’s mission is strongly centered on service. “This is a place where students’ lives are changed,” Creed says. “It’s a place where people can fulfill a calling to serve.”
Complementing a solid curricular base that includes liberal arts, fine arts, business, education and divinity, Campbell’s academic offerings reflect the economic, social and civic needs of the region, state and country. Its College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences prepares students for careers in the ever-expanding arena of allied health. The charter class of the university’s School of Osteopathic Medicine is now in its third year and doing clinical rotations.
“They’re going to have a positive impact on healthcare needs in North Carolina and around the country, especially in underserved areas,” says Creed, noting the centrality of patient care -- and a holistic approach to that care -- in the school’s curriculum. “The medical school is a natural iteration of our mission to serve.”
Campbell has also started programs in public health, physical therapy, biomedical research and physician assistant practice over the past five years. Most recently, Campbell launched a School of Nursing, which held its first seminar in August 2014.
Beyond the health sciences, Campbell is home to the state’s only undergraduate program in homeland security, which in conjunction with its criminal justice program places graduates at leading state, local and federal law enforcement agencies. The university also has a strong ROTC program that commissions more Army officers each year than any other civilian school in the nation.
In addition, the Campbell Business School started the nation’s first trust and wealth management program in 1968 and is the largest supplier of trust professionals in the state. The school also has one of only 19 PGA-certified golf management programs in the nation.
This fall, Campbell will become only the second private university in North Carolina to open a School of Engineering when it enrolls its first engineering students. “An engineering school is a natural fit for us given our location in the Research Triangle area and the presence of all the high-tech industries,” Creed says.
The school will initially offer a broad, projects-based, interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science in Engineering with concentrations in mechanical engineering and chemical/pharmaceutical engineering. Its students will have access to collaborative opportunities with other degree programs across the campus, including pharmacy, health sciences, business and law.
Through its law school, Campbell produces graduates who have had the best overall passage rate on the North Carolina Bar Exam for 27 straight years. The school’s visibility was elevated significantly in 2009 when it relocated from Buies Creek to downtown Raleigh, just a block from the state capitol. Bloomberg Business named Campbell Law the most underrated law school in the nation in 2015.
“That was a strategic move and a brilliant move to put the law school in the capital city,” Creed says. “It helped boost the profile of the law school but also the university as a whole. The facility itself serves as a visible reminder that Campbell is critical to the success of the Research Triangle Region.”
Creed and other university leaders stick to that message when they meet with local economic development organizations, tourism bureaus and chambers of commerce from Raleigh to Fayetteville. “We’re a knowledge industry,” says Creed. “We have people here with skills that can be helpful.” The university is, in fact, an economic engine in its own right. Its annual impact on the region’s economy was estimated in 2013 to exceed $452 million.
In recent years, Campbell has emerged as a vocal champion for economic development in the Research Triangle Region. It sends representatives to the annual State of the Region breakfast, for example. In 2016, Campbell will be a naming sponsor of the yearly gathering of regional business, academic, community and governmental leaders. “Partnerships are among the reasons we’re making these connections,” Creed says. “What we do is at the heart of who we are, and with whom we partner is a very important question.”
Campbell’s unwavering commitment to service extends to the economy of the region and beyond. “We want to be good stewards of what we’ve been given,” says Creed. From health and medicine to law and business, Campbell’s programs strive to raise the bar on human capital in a way that benefits everyone. “We’re looking to form partnerships for that reason, so that we can contribute to a stronger economy for the region."