BUIES CREEK - Campbell University’s annual Founder’s Day worship service took students back 125 years to that first class of Buies Creek Academy on a cold early January morning.
Campbell alumnus and Little River Baptist Association Director Rev. Dan Deaton and Campbell Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing Dr. John Roberson described those first classes led by Dr. J.A. Campbell to a full auditorium Monday in the D. Rich Building.
“The story of Campbell’s growth and development is a saga that deserves to be told again and again,” said Roberson. “James Archibald Campbell and the founding entrepreneurs laid the foundation for greatness. The educational idea of creating and learning in a community where faith, learning and service meet and excel has been nurtured and developed since those early days and continue to be Campbell’s guided mission.”
What is now Campbell University began as the Academy on Jan. 5, 1887. J.A. Campbell, a Baptist preacher who believed no student should be denied admission because of lack of funds, founded the school during the dark days of Reconstruction. His efforts to build a school during tough times led to Campbell’s motto, Ad Astra Per Aspera, which is Latin for “to the stars through difficulties.”
Deaton said Dr. Campbell demanded his students were true ladies and gentlemen who didn’t shy away from hard work.
“His dream was to provide an opportunity for all who wanted to better themselves and work for it,” Deaton said. “He worked long hours each day, and he expected the same for those who were part of his school.”
Deaton credited his Campbell education for his success in his professional life.
“I’ve stood next to and worked with alums of Stanford, Princeton, Duke and all major universities, and I have never felt I didn’t get the tools I needed to compete and to do well.
“God is giving you something by giving you an education here,” Deaton told the students Monday. “And that’s for sure.”