The religion department is a “family of 50” that grows together in faith, James Demmel ’14 said. He’s going to miss that family as he continues his studies at Duke Divinity School in the fall.
“About the time you hit the end of your junior year you’re like, ‘Man, I’m ready to graduate, ready to be done with all the work,” but lately I’m feeling nostalgic,” James Demmel said. “It’s a bittersweet experience.”
Demmel, a religion and history double major, spent three and a half years at Campbell, after transferring from Coastal Carolina. In that time, he served as an RA, became involved in numerous campus activities, and formed relationships he knows will last a lifetime. "When I came here, I knew that Campbell was a good program for academics, but I wasn’t sure about the social life,” he said.
He found himself pleasantly surprised by the social scene at Campbell when he arrived, both in his department and around campus. “There’s always something going on that’s free on campus. It’s great especially compared to my friends at public schools; they’re never doing stuff on campus. I wasn’t expecting that.”
The blend of the social life and the relationships he built over his time at Campbell are the highlight of Demmel’s college experience, he said. He characterizes the religion department as a family – “a family of 50,” he said. “We know each other really well,” he said. “As a religion major, you’re growing together in your faith, so the relationships you build are very strong.” They’ve bonded together through exams, classes, and the friendly flag football games against the Campbell Divinity School.
Those relationships extend past the students with whom Demmel has interacted. He also cites his professors as lasting influences. “I’ve taken classes with Dr. Adam English and Dr. Glenn Jonas almost every semester that I’ve been here.” He notes the struggles of being a religion major, in exploring your faith, and determining your next path, and credits the religion department’s professors in “being instrumental in helping to guide his education.”
Campbell currently offers four fields of study in the religion department, including church history, a Biblical survey, theology/philosophy, and a ministerial aspect, which was recently added.
Demmel will attend Duke Divinity School in the fall, beginning a three-year program to prepare him to go into ministry. “I felt that I needed to be connected to the church and be aware of what’s happening in the church, as well as continue academic work in the fields of theology and philosophy,” he said. “It was really the best choice. I’m going to miss terribly a lot of people, but I’m looking forward to beginning new relationships.” —Rachel Davis