Founders Week to celebrate Campbell’s humble beginnings

Campbell University will celebrate its 131-year history and heritage with its fourth-annual Founders Week next week, Feb. 5-10. What began with the unveiling of the campus’ now-iconic bronze statue of founder J.A. Campbell has grown into a week of big events, notably Campbell Giving Day on Wednesday, the Highland Games on Friday and Saturday’s Heritage basketball games and Camel bobblehead give-away.

“Founders Week allows the Campbell community to celebrate the vision of J.A. Campbell to educate men and women who have the desire to learn,” said Sarah Swain, assistant vice president of alumni engagement. “This year’s Founders Week highlights the strong foundations Dr. Campbell and other have laid throughout our 131-year history.”

The “theme” this year honors Buies Creek Academy, the name of the school founded by Campbell in 1887 — his first class consisting of 16 students in a small church on a freezing Jan. 5, 1887, morning. On Thursday, Feb. 8, the University will dedicate a plaque on the northeast side of Kivett Hall marking the original BCA building, which burned to the ground in December 1900 (Kivett was built a few years later in its place).

The site of the marker was the result of months-long research by Sal Mercogliano, assistant professor of history, and Kendra Granger, Study Abroad coordinator. 

The Camel bobblehead given out at Saturday’s basketball games will also honor BCA, as Gaylord will be decked out in turn-of-the-century clothes and a BCA pennant.

Below is the full Founders Week schedule:


  • Founders Week Shirt Swap (students only), from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students will be invited to bring their former favorite college shirts (shirts must still be in good shape) to trade in for a crisp, new Campbell Founders Week shirt. The event has been moved Rumley Hall, because of the expected cold — perhaps wintery — weather on Monday.
  • Connections: The topic “Foundations” will be presented by Campbell President J. Bradley Creed. The Heritage Award will be presented to the winning student.
  • Heritage Award Luncheon: The Heritage Award winner and their family will be joined by the Connections speaker and staff members for a celebration luncheon.


  • Transformation Tuesday: Students will have the opportunity to pose with Gaylord (in his BCA student attire) throughout the day. Picture stations will be posted throughout campus highlighting the Campbell of yesterday. Photos submitted by alumni of their own college days will be shared throughout the day on social media.


  • Campbell Giving Day: Give. Share. Lead. And for Pete’s sake … wear Orange! Come to the Academic Circle and take a photo, post it on social media and get free food. Throughout the day, donations from students, staff, faculty and alumni will be tallied — the more donations, the more larger “gifts” will be unlocked. Money raised on #CampbellGivingDay will go toward funding the new student union and student scholarships.


  • Marker Dedication: The original site of Buies Creek Academy — which burned to the ground in 1900, only to be replaced by Kivett Hall — will be celebrated with a marker dedication ceremony on the northeast side of Kivett (near the business office) at 11 a.m.
  • Throwback Thursday menu: Marshbanks Hall will be serving Southern comfort food — chicken, biscuits, collards and more.


  • Highland Games: Campbell University will once again celebrate the Scottish heritage of founder J.A. Campbell with the Highland Games, beginning at 2 p.m. in the Academic Circle.


  • Heritage Games: The women’s and men’s basketball teams will play home games in Gore Arena on Saturday (women at 2 p.m., men at 4:30 p.m.). Admission to the women’s game will be free with a donation to Johnsonville Elementary School (clothing and hygiene items). Fans who stick around for the entire men’s game can receive the 2018 Gaylord bobblehead — the ultimate Buies Creek Academy fan with letter jacket and pennant.