Campbell celebrates opening of McLeod Building, family’s legacy

Five months earlier, construction noise from Campbell’s future admissions building drowned out a groundbreaking ceremony for the University’s massive new student union.

On Wednesday, the roles were reversed.

Campbell celebrated its newest structure — the Bernard F. McLeod Sr. Admissions & Financial Aid Building — with a ribbon-cutting ceremony while the beeping of cranes and roaring of trucks could be heard just yards away at the site of the future student hub. The sounds of progress only added to the excitement Wednesday as more than 100 people gathered under a white tent to cut an orange ribbon and officially open the building that will serve as a first impression for prospective Campbell students for generations to come.

Located between Butler Chapel and the construction site for the student union, the McLeod Building houses Campbell’s admissions office on its first floor and financial aid and the business office on the second. Formerly, the three were housed in three separate buildings on campus. Having them together is an important step in the right direction for Campbell, said Mary Otto, director of financial aid and one of five speakers for the ceremony.

Dr. Creed, Bernard McLeod, and other trustees stand in a line with their scissors poised to cut an orange ribbon at the ceremony.
Bernard F. McLeod Jr. (center) was the first to cut the ribbon on the admissions and financial aid building that bears his father’s name on Wednesday. Photo by Billy Liggett

“Putting all of this in one building allows us to provide outstanding customer service to all of our students,” Otto said. “From the new freshman through the graduating senior, we now feel truly connected to the students we support and can give them easy access to all the services they might need in one location.”

The building also features several meeting rooms that overlook the Academic Circle and iconic buildings like Kivett Hall and D. Rich. Vice President for Business and Treasurer Jim Roberts said the idea was to build a facility that was both impressive and welcoming: “It had to be a place that was professional as we bring people in, and it had to be a place that was spirited and steeped in Campbell tradition. Those were the basic tenets we wanted as we began planning this building.”

On hand for the ceremony was the son of the building’s namesake, Bernard F. McLeod Jr., a 1948 graduate of Campbell College, and several generations of McLeods who were also on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony 13 months earlier before construction began. McLeod Sr. was born in 1885 and moved to Buies Creek in the early 1900s at the request of his friend, school founder J.A. Campbell. The McLeod’s home once stood where the John W. Pope Convocation Center now stands.

After completing his studies at Buies Creek Academy, McLeod Sr. graduated from Wake Forest University in 1913 and returned to Buies Creek to teach. He soon married Lacey Ann Yearby, whose family also moved to Buies Creek a decade earlier to send their children to the academy. McLeod Sr. earned his law degree from Wake Forest and opened a law office in Coats in the early 1920s. He joined the Campbell Junior College Board of Trustees in 1926, the same year Bernard Jr. was born.

Bernard Sr. introduced J.A. Campbell’s son, Leslie Campbell, to the student body as the school’s new president in 1934. His son graduated in 1948 and also went on to serve on the University Board of Trustees.

The McLeods have known all five of Campbell’s presidents in the school’s 131-year history. The fifth president, J. Bradley Creed, called McLeod Jr. a “living memorial stone … of this great university. To think that he has provided the resources to make this wonderful building and to give honor to his family who have been here for so many years.”

Creed added, “I want to say personally on behalf of everyone here, speaking for generations who have come before us and to those who will follow us. Thank you so much for your belief in Campbell University, for your love of this University’s past and its mission and for your commitment to the future … to be a good steward of the things that God has given you. We’re all blessed, we love you, and we thank you.”

Jason Hall speaks to the crowd gathered under a white tent Wednesday morning at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Bernard F. McLeod Sr. Admissions & Financial Aid Building. Photo by Billy Liggett