Hugh Brown Campbell, Jr. '59
The Alumni Service Award is presented to alumni and other friends of Davidson College who have rendered and performed a high degree of service to the institution. Today we are honored to recognize Hugh Brown Campbell, Jr. of the Class of 1959.
Hugh Campbell didn’t have far to travel in the summer of 1955 when he came to Davidson College as a freshman. Throughout his life, even though Harvard claimed him for a couple of years, this Charlotte native stuck around the Old North State—and stayed close to Davidson. And Davidson has benefitted in untold ways from his character and leadership as an alumnus.
Hugh began his years at Davidson unsure of where his studies might lead him—his freshman survey sheepishly listed his future business or profession as “don’t know.” He filled his time, though, joining Phi Delta Theta, playing soccer, and entertaining his musical interests in the band. Soon, this Myers Park graduate showed an interest in medicine, and he spent his four years studying to become a doctor.
That changed at the last minute when Hugh was accepted at a well-known law school in Massachusetts. After Harvard, Hugh and Mary Irving married, and he served in the U.S. Army, eventually retiring as a Colonel. He began his law practice at the firm his father once partnered, spending over 30 years as a respected attorney in Charlotte. He represented the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education for more than a decade.
In addition to his country and his community, Hugh served his state as a legislator from 1969 until 1972, where his tenacity as a politician rewarded him with several important committee assignments, including higher education. In 2001, Governor Jim Hunt appointed Hugh to the N.C. Court of Appeals, where he again followed the footsteps of his father, one of North Carolina’s original appellate judges.
Judge Campbell’s time away from his career is marked with profound service. Although his teenage nickname, “Scrooge,” reflected his disdain for spendthrifts, it never described his generosity. And Hugh’s service to alma mater is of the highest order. He served as the Charlotte Alumni Chapter President from 1985 until 1987, bringing new and necessary organization to that group, and was Vice President of the Alumni Association Board of Directors from 1994 to 1996. Beginning in 1975 he served as a class agent, making telephone calls for the Annual Fund. And of course, Hugh has helped plan and coordinate reunions for the Class of 1959, including this landmark 50th. Lastly, Hugh has supported his community as a board member of the Charlotte YMCA in addition to many other local organizations.
For his personal and professional accomplishments, for his leadership, love and devotion to Davidson, for his fearlessness on matters of principle, for his devotion to preserving and uplifting education in Charlotte and across North Carolina, for his legacy as a fair—but formidable—lawyer and judge, for his life’s example as a picture of integrity, for his service to his state and country, and for his unwavering determination to sustain and enhance Davidson College, the Alumni Association proudly honors Hugh Brown Campbell, Jr., Class of 1959, with its Alumni Service Award on the occasion of his 50th Reunion on this 25th day of April, 2009.