BUIES CREEK — Pat Barker thought she was on campus Tuesday for just another meeting — one of many she’s attended over the years for Campbell University’s Presidential Board of Advisors or the College of Arts & Sciences’ Advisory Board.
Instead, midway through the gathering in Campbell’s newest women’s dormitory (built in 2010), she realized this wasn’t a typical meeting. She soon learned the lobby she sat in was part of the building that now bears her name.
Campbell on Tuesday formally dedicated Pat Barker Hall, which had been known simply as “the new residence hall” for three years, much to the surprise of Barker, who had to be strategically led in through the building’s south entrance so she wouldn’t see her name on the 48,000-square-foot freshman dormitory.
Joined by her husband, Bob Barker — the namesake of the recently built men’s dormitory located across the highway from Barker-Lane Stadium (which also bears the family’s name) — Pat Barker expressed both shock and gratitude to the crowd, which included President Jerry Wallace and Senior Vice President Jack Britt, both longtime friends of the family.
“I’m just totally amazed. This is so wonderful,” Pat Barker said. “I greatly appreciate all of this. Thank you so much.”
Pat Barker is a former executive vice president of the Bob Barker Company, the world’s largest supplier of products and supplies to correctional facilities, rehab facilities, homeless shelters and schools. She and her husband founded the company in 1972, and the Barkers (Bob is a 1965 graduate of Campbell) have been generous supporters of Campbell for decades.
A graduate of the University of South Carolina and Duke University, Pat Barker studied organic chemistry and business administration and used her skills to help make Bob Barker Company the international success it became.
But there’s much more to Pat Barker, said Dennis Bazemore, vice president for student life at Campbell. “She’s such a great example of a kind, caring and loving person, and I’ve seen that first hand,” he said.
On hand for the dedication were Dean of Students Sherry Haehl and Resident Director Lindsey Stever, who spoke on what the dormitory has meant for female Campbell freshman over the past three years. Freshman Savannah Simpson represented an example of the impact Campbell’s newest dorm has on the student population.
“I can definitely say I was terrified coming here. Coming from a small town, I never lived away from home before this,” said Simpson. “But this is my second home, and we’re all a family here. Any time I need something, I have 147 other people living with me who I can easily call on. We’re not only building friendships, we’re building faith and developing our skills for college. I deeply love Campbell, and I love my new home.”
— Story and photo by Billy Liggett