In his final semester as vice president for student life at Campbell University, Dr. Dennis Bazemore is the school’s 2022 recipient of the North Carolina Baptist Heritage Award, which recognizes those who represent exemplary service and giving to organizations associated with the Baptist State Convention.
Bazemore, a 1977 graduate of Campbell who went on to earn his Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and his Doctor of Ministry from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, returned to his alma mater in 2003 to head the Office of Student Life. While his service to Campbell lasted nearly 20 years, his service to the North Carolina Baptist community has exceeded 40 years.
He announced his retirement from Campbell in 2021, and he will officially step down this summer.
Prior to joining Campbell, Bazemore — who became an ordained minister in 1980 — led congregations in Chadbourn and Wallace, North Carolina, where he spent 14 years as the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Wallace. During his time there, he began to give back to Campbell through his service on the Campbell Board of Ministers and the University Alumni, and by serving two terms on the Campbell Board of Trustees.
He also served on several leadership committees of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, as well as two terms on the Board of Trustees of Chowan University.
“Dennis Bazemore has been a good and faithful servant leader to Campbell University as a student, alumnus, volunteer and professional staff member for nearly 50 years,” Campbell President J. Bradley Creed said. “But his impact on the North Carolina Baptist community is immeasurable.”
During Bazemore’s tenure as vice president for student life, Campbell University experienced unprecedented expansion of campus facilities and enrollment, including significantly expanded opportunities for student and residence life. More recently, during the COVID pandemic, Bazemore served the campus community as chair of the Campus Health & Safety Committee, which created campus policies and made recommendations to keep the Campbell community safe during the pandemic.
Despite his responsibilities at Campbell, Bazemore continued to find time to serve as an interim pastor in churches across the region, joining Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Lillington Baptist Church, Westwood Baptist Church in Cary, Woodhaven Baptist Church in Apex, Spilman Memorial Baptist Church in Kinston, Murfreesboro Baptist Church andGrove Park Baptist Church in Clinton, where he continues to serve today.
And often, his work with Campbell and service crossed paths — in 2019, he joined students from the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine to offer free health care screenings to underserved residents of his native Bertie County, a rural community where the ratio of residents to primary care physicians was 4,175 to 1.
The Rev. Faithe Beam, who will succeed Bazemore as vice president this summer, said she is grateful for his strong and steady leadership.
“He is a loyal steward of the Campbell experience in his care and commitment to students,” she said. “He exemplifies the mission of Campbell in who he is and how he has served faithfully through his own purpose and calling.”
Bazemore’s wife Linda is also a native of Ahoskie and a two-time graduate of Campbell University. She is a retired educator and counselor, having served 35 years in various North Carolina school systems. Dennis and Linda are the parents of two children, Stephen and Hannah, who also graduated from Campbell University.
Campbell University has participated in the North Carolina Baptist Heritage Award event annually for more than 30 years along with other traditionally North Carolina Baptist colleges and universities, including Gardner-Webb University, Chowan University, Mars Hill University, Wingate University, Meredith College and Wake Forest University.
Photo: Campbell President J. Bradley Creed, Dennis Bazemore and Todd Unzicker, executive director of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.