Four celebrated at Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony

On Friday, Oct. 20 four individuals were bestowed prestigious honors by the Alumni Association at its annual Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony and Dinner. 

First Lady Kristin Cooper (‘82), Dr. Casey Langdon (‘08), and Jimmy Witherspoon (‘80) were each recognized as the newest members of the Distinguished Alumni class of Campbell University, while Dr. Jerry Wallace was surprised with the title of “Honorary Alumnus”. 

The event drew the largest attendance it’s had in recent years.

The program featured a reception and dinner followed by a presentation of the awards. Highlights included a special musical performance by the Campbell Voices; video interviews with each award recipient produced by Orange Owned business JerFilm Productions and the Office of Alumni Engagement; reflections from President J. Bradley Creed; and speaking roles by the deans from the recipients’ respective schools. 

“Our alumni body is 54,000 strong and so many of Campbell’s graduates are doing great things around the world,” said Rebecca Brock (’97, ’01), Alumni Board of Directors President. “Our Alumni Association is working to expand our efforts in recognizing those who are acting on their call to lead with purpose and serve others. We are extremely proud of this year’s honorees. They serve as examples for our students and our fellow alumni.”

Among those in the crowd at the Oscar N. Harris Student Union was N.C. Governor Roy Cooper, there to support his wife, First Lady Kristin Cooper as she received the honor of being named Distinguished Alumna.

Dean Leonard, First Lady Kristin Cooper, Roy Cooper

First Lady Cooper graduated from Campbell Law. She’s used her influence and Campbell education over the years to positively advocate for North Carolina’s children who are dealing with challenges such as abuse, neglect, hunger and illiteracy.

The First Lady expressed at the ceremony that though her time at Campbell Law involved strenuous work and studies, she’s grown to look back at that time with appreciation and regularly uses aspects of the education she received from the school.

“Thank you for having me for this great honor,” she said at the podium. “I’ll treasure it.”

Dr. Casey Langdon (’08) is a Harnett County native who graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Biochemistry and Biology in 2008.

“Campbell has always been a part of me,” he said. “My mom worked at Campbell in the Marshbanks cafeteria from the time I was four years old. I remember going to Campbell basketball games when I was a little kid, so it was part of me and part of my identity in a lot of ways.

“I’m grateful and honored to be a Distinguished Alumnus.”

Dr. Langdon

Dr. Langdon works extensively in cancer research and in December 2022, began his own laboratory in the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina. Dr. Langdon’s research largely focuses on determining the molecular underpinnings of human cancers to develop more efficacious, less toxic therapeutics.

Jimmy Witherspoon (’80) serves as the Chairman of the Department of Trust and Wealth Management at Campbell University, the director of the Trust program, the Jefferson Pilot Chair of Insurance and as an Associate Professor of the Lundy Fetterman School of Business since 1983. He’s received several awards and recognitions during his 40 years of service to Campbell.

Jimmy Witherspoon with Dean O’Mara, Ryan Newkirk

Dozens of his students from over the years were in attendance to celebrate his award.

“Campbell changed my life beyond all mention,” he said. “This is just a dream come true and to me, this a day to celebrate Campbell’s Trust program and the countless alumni who have given back so generously.”

Dr. Jerry M. Wallace served as Campbell University’s fourth president for 12 years before stepping down from the position in June 2015. Today, as chancellor, he supports President Creed and other senior leaders on university initiatives.

During Wallace’s 12 years as president, Campbell’s enrollment jumped to over 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university also expanded its health programs to complement its pharmacy school and address the shortage of health professionals in North Carolina. When the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine opened in the Leon Levine Hall of Medical Sciences in August 2013 with 160 students, it was North Carolina’s first new medical school in 35 years.

Dr. Wallace was surprised by his unique recognition at the ceremony and gave an impromptu and impassioned speech.

He closed, “Campbell has been so good to me. It’s been a wonderful place to live a life. May this little place in Buies Creek ever live.”

Click here to read more about each award recipient and the Distinguished Alumni Awards.