The gavel was passed on Wednesday from David Russ to Stephen Gaskins, who takes over as chairman of Campbell University’s Presidential Board of Advisors.
Gaskins is a 1981 graduate of Campbell’s Trust and Wealth Management program and has been an active supporter of the University for decades, having served in several capacities.
He is a past president of the National Alumni Association, served on the Fighting Camel Athletic Advisory Board, and served on the Divinity School Board, where there is a scholarship fund in his parents’ honor. Professionally, he is the founder and CEO of Seacoast Wealth Management in Wilmington, North Carolina.
“I am humbled and honored to assume the leadership of this distinguished group,” Gaskins said in a meeting held in the ballroom at the new Oscar N. Harris Student Union. “I never imagined 40 years ago that we’d be meeting in a facility like this and have the things that we have here today. It’s a testimony to the great people who work here and go to school here. We should all be proud.”
The Presidential Board of Advisors is made up of Campbell alums, parents of students, area business leaders and devoted members of the Campbell community tasked with communicating thoughts, ideas and concerns to the University president.
In accepting his new role on Wednesday, Gaskins said the challenges facing Campbell in the coming years include overcoming the struggles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and competing with other schools for a depleted pool of eligible college students. He challenged his fellow board members to step up and join him in taking on these challenges.
“I imagine, as was the case for me, that at some point in your life, Campbell University was there for you,” Gaskins said. “It’s very important now — more than ever — that we are here for Campbell.”
Gaskins succeeds David Russ as chairman. Russ is a 1969 graduate of Campbell who formerly owned Russ Vending and Coffee Company in Wilmington. Russ was also named a Distinguished Alumni in 2008. He called it an “honor and a privilege” to have served as chairman of the advisory board.
“Though it has been a stressful time, it has also been a very productive time,” he said. “I am proud of Campbell and her accomplishments, and I look forward to working with Campbell in the future.”
Russ called Gaskins “imminently qualified” to serve as chairman.
“We’ve worked on many projects together,” he said. “He’s a good friend and has a great love for Campbell.”
Gaskins founded Seacoast Wealth Management in 2016 and has been in the wealth management field for 40 years. Seacoast is a comprehensive wealth management firm, offering investment management, financial planning, trust and estate planning and life insurance. Gaskins works with high net-worth individuals and business owners to grow and preserve their wealth.
Gaskins is currently on the Campbell Foundation Board, the PBA and the Business School Advisory Board. His family has a long-time relationship with Campbell, beginning with his father’s close friendship with Dr. Jerry Wallace in the 1960s. His brother, Gene, is a 1977 graduate, as is his niece Summer (’19) and Savannah, who is set to graduate this spring. His son, Chase, is a sophomore at Campbell.
“Leaders like Steve Gaskins and David Russ truly make a difference at Campbell University,” said President J. Bradley Creed. “We are grateful for their love and support of Campbell, their ideas, inspiration, and drive to make this university a better place. I’m excited about Steve’s leadership and the next stage for our Presidential Board of Advisors.”