BUIES CREEK — Rounding out a hectic two days of commencement ceremonies, the graduation service for Campbell University’s extended programs had a lighter feel to it Saturday afternoon.
One grad won an unexpected “crisp, clean $100 bill,” while everyone else was challenged to stand up and sing the school’s alma mater to earn another Benjamin. And all graduates of Campbell’s satellite campuses at Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune and Research Triangle Park — as well as online graduates — left the ceremony with a new orange Campbell T-shirt and the challenge to “wear orange” as much as possible in their future days.
Campbell awarded 168 undergraduate degrees to its extended campus graduates, and Saturday’s commencement speaker was the University’s recently appointed extended campuses dean, John Roberson.
Roberson, a Campbell alumnus who earned his degree in religion in 1980, told the story of his own commencement in Buies Creek, then held in Turner Auditorium. Roberson recalled that his seat that day had lost a hinge, and he had to spend the entire service with all of his weight on one hip to avoid falling.
“I’ve been where you are,” Roberson told the graduates Saturday, “though, less comfortably. And right now, I’m precisely where you will arrive … an alumnus of Campbell University.”
Roberson spoke of a few of the notable Campbell graduates over the years, including Essie Faircloth (‘33), Campbell’s oldest living alum who turned 100 this year. He mentioned the late Norman A. Wiggins (‘47), Campbell’s third president whose legal books are still being taught in law schools across the country. He recalled Ed Gore (‘52), who delivered the greetings for Saturday’s ceremony and who left Campbell to become a successful real estate developer and entrepreneur. John Tew (’55) is a world-renowned neurosurgeon and educator, and Jim Perry (‘55) pitched in the major leagues for 17 years and won the 1970 Cy Young Award.
“We yield to her our true allegiance, raising her banner high,” Roberson said, quoting the second verse of Campbell’s alma mater. “To me, this one sentence is the perfect summary of what it means to be an alumnus of Campbell University.”
Photo by Bennett Scarborough