When English Department Chair Dr. Frank Vaughan retires from Campbell University, it won’t be the money he’ll miss. Vaughan, whose renovated office in the old Kivett building is filled with packing boxes, concludes a 30–year career on May 15.
“I’ve had the most fun working with the kids,” he said, “communicating ideas and imparting a passion for literature to them, watching them grow, come up with their own ideas and be able to articulate those ideas to other people.”
He remembers one student who had a very poor, tough life.
“He came from a very poor background, but he was very creative. When he kept making C’s on his papers, it made me mad because I knew he could do better,” Vaughan said. “Fifteen years later, he comes back to Campbell with a master’s degree in creative writing and a job as an English Department chair. â€˜You were the first teacher who told me that I was anything more than a â€˜C’ student, he said.'”
A native of Albany, Ca., Vaughan and his wife Betty, a history teacher at Garner Senior High School, first came to Campbell as a result of a California state law, Proposition 13, which was responsible for the closing of many public schools in the state. With a decrease in job opportunity, a friend’s invitation sounded like a good idea. So the Vaughans packed up their belongings in a U-Haul, attached their car to the back of the truck and headed for Buies Creek. Vaughan’s first job at Campbell was adjunct professor of English, but in 10 years he became chair of the English Department. During the intervening years, Vaughan has taught every literature course in the English program, except medieval literature, and rewrote the curriculum to clarify English requirements for students. One of his favorite activities was serving as advisor to the student literary magazine, “The Lyricist,” for 27 years. But Vaughan’s greatest pleasure came from his association students.
“I’ve never met a student that couldn’t be a friend,” he said. “It is stunning to watch them come in with a vague concept or idea for â€˜The Lyricist,’ learn how to work with others as a team, meet time and budget deadlines and come out with a finished product. And to know that on every page they’ve been required to make a decision that has been their own.”
A scholar of Romantic poet, painter and printmaker William Blake, Vaughan’s plans for retirement include finishing a book he’s writing on Blake and pursuing his hobby of bookbinding. Ever the student, he would also like to learn how to repair computers.
“I think the Internet is the Guttenberg Press of the 20th century,” he said. “It is impossible to stop the flow of information.”
Photo Copy: Dr. Frank Vaughan shares a laugh with student Josh Pittman at a retirement party held for him at Campbell.