On January 5, 1887, James Archibald Campbell founded Buies Creek Academy in a one-room school with twenty-one students. Born and raised in Harnett County and a second-generation preacher, James Archibald Campbell had a dream to open a school that emphasized faith and offered the opportunity for young people to gain an education without being limited by finances.
From those humble beginnings, little Buies Creek Academy grew rapidly. In 1926, the school’s growth merited a transition from Buies Creek Academy to Campbell Junior College. In 1961, the school again changed its name, after having achieved the status of a senior college. Finally, in 1979, the school settled at its present name and status as Campbell University.
Presently, Campbell University has a total enrollment of more than 9,400. At the main campus, still located in Buies Creek, enrollment has reached over 3,900, with over 2,500 undergraduates and 1,400 graduate students. While the majority of students attending Campbell University are from within North Carolina, roughly a third of the student body is outside the state.
In addition to over one hundred tracks and concentrations for undergraduate programs, Campbell’s continued growth has resulted in many additional graduate study programs. The Campbell University School of Law, now named Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law in honor of the University’s third president, was founded in 1976. The charter class enrolled the following year. In 2009, Campbell’s Law School was relocated from the Buies Creek campus to downtown Raleigh.
Campbell also offers graduate degrees at the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business, Schools of Pharmacy and Education, and a Divinity School — established in 1983, 1985, and 1996, respectively.
Affiliated with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Campbell holds a unique place for its clear emphasis of Christian principles, both in and out of the classroom. Also, as a private institution, Campbell does not receive any direct state or federal funding; however students are eligible for state and federal financial aid programs.
The official motto of the University is "Ad Astra per Aspera", or "to the stars through difficulties." Given the school’s history — being founded during the turbulent Reconstruction Era, starting with only a single room and twenty-one students in a rural county – the motto is rather fitting. As the growth of what was once little Buies Creek Academy continues, so does Mr. James Archibald Campbell’s dream.
Campbell University, About Campbell FAQ’s, http://www.campbell.edu/about/faqs/, (last accessed October 27, 2010); Campbell University, About Campbell History & Quick Facts, http://www.campbell.edu/about/history-quick-facts/, (last accessed September 17, 2010); Harnett County Public Library, James Archibald Campbell, http://www.harnett.org/Library/Biographies/campbellja.htm, (last accessed September 17, 2010).