WHAT CAME BEFORE
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Campbell’s medical school wouldn’t have been possible if not first for the success of the university’s law and pharmacy schools
BY CHERRY CRAYTON
During the planning for the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine, Ron Maddox met with leaders at various hospitals and research institutions to gauge their willingness to provide training opportunities for Campbell’s medical students.
Over and over Maddox, the vice president for health programs and the founding dean of the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, got a similar response: “I don’t know a lot about osteopathic medical education, but I know you’ve got a good pharmacy school. Sure we’ll work with your students.”
The medical school wouldn’t exist if the pharmacy school hadn’t been successful, Maddox says, and the pharmacy school wouldn’t exist if not first for the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law. “Those schools and their reputations laid the foundation.”
That wasn’t lost on students who applied to be part of the medical school’s first class.
“Though the medical school is new, I feel confident with the education I will receive because of the reputation of Campbell’s pharmacy and law schools,” says Anthony Parker, a 2013 graduate of N.C. State University and a medical student at Campbell. “They are among the best in the state and nation.”
How did these programs become so successful? The following is an overview of how they began and what set them apart.
A few years into his presidency at Campbell College, Norman Wiggins got asked one question more often than others: “When are you starting a law school?”
Wiggins earned his law degree at Wake Forest University and taught there before joining Campbell in 1967. He and Campbell’s trustees and presidential advisors were concerned about the state of legal education. They saw recent law graduates who lacked ethics, who clustered to urban centers and who hadn’t been thoroughly trained. But it was only in 1963 that Campbell graduated its first four-year class after operating as a junior college for 35 years, Wiggins would say. “We are not ready right now.”
Campbell’s academics got a boost in 1972 when an accrediting agency visited. The school also began its first major fundraising campaign, leading to a stronger library, enhanced curriculum and improved physical space — all important for law school accreditation. The right time came in 1974. In October, Wiggins told the N.C. Baptist State Convention that Campbell planned to start a law school that emphasized “ethical, moral and Christian standards” and trained “people with the idea that a lawyer is a special kind of person, that he is doing more than just making money.”
Not everyone supported it. Several state newspapers and UNC System leaders spoke out in opposition. They pointed to a 1974 study by the Triangle Research Institute that concluded there was “no need for additional law schools in North Carolina,” because the state needed to produce only 200 lawyers a year between 1974 and 1984, though its four law schools were admitting 450 students each year.
Also, the leaders of peer institutions expressed concerns that funding allocated to their schools would be redirected to support Campbell’s law school at a time when their budgets were already strained. They urged Campbell to reconsider.
“If it hadn’t been for President Wiggins’ foresight and determination, that might have been the end of it,” says Olivia Weeks, an assistant professor and the library director at the Campbell Law School who is writing a history of the school.
North Carolina needed Campbell’s proposed law school, because too many people in the state didn’t have access to quality legal service, Wiggins told his peers at a follow-up meeting with the N.C. Baptist State Convention in July 1975. According to a study by Harold Wren, the dean of the University of Richmond’s School of Law, seven of the 100 counties in North Carolina — 30 percent of the state’s population — had half of the state’s lawyers; the remaining 93 counties shared the other half. Some counties, like Pamlico, didn’t have a single lawyer.
“Experience has shown that lawyers are somewhat like doctors in that they tend to practice in cities and metropolitan areas,” Wiggins told the N.C. Baptist State Convention. Campbell’s graduates, however, tended “to settle in small towns.”
Campbell was also financially able to support a law school without additional funding from the convention, he added. The school had secured $500,000 in pledges and was beginning a five-year, $12 million fundraising campaign. The convention approved the law school.
Margaret Currin was among the first 97 law students who began studies at Campbell in August 1976. She was also just one of two non-Harvard students who completed a summer internship in a division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office following her second year. At first, she says, she was unsure how her Campbell education “would stack up against any other law school, let alone Harvard’s.” But the interns from the more established law schools were not familiar with some of the basic practical procedures that Campbell had taught its students.
“That impressed upon me the quality of the legal education I was getting,” says Currin, now a Campbell law professor.
When Leary Davis left his practice to become founding dean of Campbell’s law school, he saw an opportunity at Campbell “to do something different” with legal education, he says. Among the innovations: a rigorous curriculum that emphasized practical education. Students were required to complete 10 hours of procedural courses, at least one planning course, and a trial and appellate advocacy program. “... Few law schools go as far as Campbell in requiring the experiential learning experiences that helps students learn to think, think critically, and solve problems,” says Davis, today retired.
When Currin and the law school’s first class graduated in 1979, nearly every one of them passed the bar exam. It wasn’t beginner’s luck. Campbell’s overall record of success on the N.C. Bar Exam has been unsurpassed by any other law school in the state for the past 26 years.
The law school was renamed in honor of Wiggins in 1988. Twenty-one years later, it moved to downtown Raleigh, where its externship program has flourished. Any given semester, 60 to 70 students complete externships, further strengthening Campbell’s experiential learning opportunities. In March 2013, the law school moved into the top tier among law schools and collected its highest ranking ever. “Dr. Wiggins would certainly be proud to see where the law school is today,” Davis says.
Why would Campbell President Norman Wiggins, a lawyer, be interested in opening the first pharmacy school in the United States in 35 years? That was what Ronald Maddox wanted to know when Wiggins asked him to be the founding dean of Campbell’s pharmacy school.
At the time, Maddox was an associate dean and professor of pharmacy at Mercer University, and he was helping the pharmacy dean conduct a feasibility study on Campbell’s proposed school. Maddox knew North Carolina was a growing hotbed for the pharmaceutical industry, but he wanted to be sure Wiggins was fully committed to the success of a pharmacy school. Maddox peppered Wiggins with questions.
As to his interest in starting a pharmacy school, Wiggins told Maddox: “I grew up in Burlington, N.C., and my mother took my siblings and me to a community pharmacist for our health care needs. I would like to see pharmacists like the ones just around the corner trained in a Christian environment who’ll go on to make a difference in the lives of their own communities.”
Maddox liked what he heard and agreed to be dean. Campbell announced in January 1985 its plan to open a pharmacy school.
Former UNC School of Pharmacy Dean Tom Miya told the Associated Press in 1985 that he was concerned that a new school would cut into UNC-Chapel Hill’s ability to enroll students and fill vacancies for faculty positions. He said enrollment in the nation’s 71 pharmacy schools declined 23 percent in the 10 years leading up to 1983-84; and at UNC-Chapel Hill, enrollment had dropped by 2.7 percent between 1982-83 and 1983-84.
“We struggled like mad to get [student enrollment] where we wanted this year,” Miya said. “We’d be competing for the same qualified applicant pool.”
In response, Wiggins told The Campbell Times that Miya “raised legitimate questions of concerns” but stressed there was “no competition of an unwholesome type with UNC.”
When Campbell announced plans to start its pharmacy school, there was only one in North Carolina. But with the state’s increasing population, there was already a need for more than 600 pharmacists in North Carolina to meet the national average, a study found. At the same time, pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers were flooding to the state, creating jobs that needed to be filled. Though total manufacturing jobs declined in North Carolina between 1972 and 1984, the employment rate for pharmaceutical and related jobs jumped 350 percent.
“There were huge opportunities for pharmacy education in North Carolina,” Maddox says. The pharmacy admissions coordinator at Mercer University told Maddox, too, that students from North Carolina frequently chose to attend Mercer because they preferred studying at a private Christian university and that 30 percent of Mercer’s pharmacy students came from East Tennessee.
“There was fertile ground to draw pharmacy students from,” Maddox says, adding that North Carolina had a strong foundation of hospitals and clinical sites, such as Duke Health, Wake Forest Medical Center, and Cape Fear Valley Health, that could provide ample training and hands-on experiences.
Pharmacist Rene’ Smith grew up a Carolina fan and thought she’d attend UNC-Chapel Hill for her pharmacy degree. She got accepted, but she chose to attend Campbell’s School of Pharmacy, making her one of the 55 students in the inaugural class that began August 1986. Two things made the difference, she says: the supportive and accomplished faculty and staff that she met during her campus visit to Campbell; and the five-year Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) Campbell offered. UNC-Chapel Hill’s five-year degree led to a bachelor’s at the time, and it wasn’t until 2000 when the national accreditation body required pharmacy programs to transition from the bachelor’s to PharmD.
“To get your doctorate in five years, that carried some weight,” she says.
In line with Wiggins’ vision for community pharmacists, Campbell was also the first university in the U.S. to require a community-pharmacy rotation. Another required rotation that’s standard now was in geriatrics.
“Dr. Maddox had a vision of what the field would look like 20 years in the future,” says Todd King, a student in the first class who is today a senior clinical director at Omnicare. “The school prepared us well for the duration of our careers.”
Part of that preparation included an additional 1,500 internship hours that Campbell’s pharmacy students completed before they took board exams. Unlike the majority of pharmacy schools offering a bachelor’s, Campbell’s PharmD program incorporated 1,500 clinical hours into nine one-month rotations during their fourth year, reducing the gap between finishing coursework and taking board exams.
Success followed. The pharmacy school’s first class graduated in 1990 and had a 100 percent passage rate on the national boards. Since then, Campbell’s pharmacy students have maintained a 98.5 passage rate, one of the highest in the nation.
In 2007, Campbell dedicated its pharmacy teaching facility in honor of Maddox. Two years later, Campbell changed the name of the pharmacy school to the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences when the trustees approved the addition of a physician assistant program. The physician assistant students began in August 2011, and a year later, the first Master of Science in Public Health students started their studies. The trustees have also approved Doctor of Physical Therapy and Bachelor of Nursing degrees.
“The pharmacy school has … strengthened our undergraduate science base and has expanded our clinical research and ultimately led to our physician assistant program and now the medical school,” says Britt Davis, Campbell’s vice president for institutional advancement. “No doubt about it, law and pharmacy have helped set the stage to open the medical school. All of this has been years in the making.”