Homecoming Saturday | Campbell dedicates D. Rich Commons, opens Starbucks, holds Ring Ceremony

BUIES CREEK — Not even before noon on Homecoming Saturday, Oct. 18, Campbell University marked three milestones: the dedication of D. Rich Commons, the opening of a full-service Starbucks on main campus, and the holding of the 2nd Annual Ring Ceremony.

Here’s an overview of all three — plus a photo gallery of the Homecoming parade and a recap of all Homecoming Saturday events through tweets and photos. 

Campbell dedicates D. Rich Commons, university seal

Wallace surprised with class ring during ceremony

Starbucks opens on main campus

Photo Gallery: 2014 Homecoming Parade

Homecoming Saturday: A recap (Storify)

Campbell dedicates D. Rich Commons, university seal


After Campbell University completed constructing the Anna Gardner and Robert B. Butler Chapel in 2009, the university challenged planners and landscape architects to re-imagine the look of the Academic Circle. Five years later, during a brief ceremony Saturday morning, the university formally dedicated the results of that challenge: D. Rich Commons.

This new campus landmark provides Campbell “with a memorable sense of place,” said Jim Roberts, the university’s vice president for business and treasurer. “It’s a place that provides us with a sense of pride and with an opportunity to continue new Campbell traditions.”

Over the summer, the university transformed the Academic Circle near the entrances to Taylor Hall and D. Rich Memorial Hall – one of the most trafficked areas on campus. New sitting walls were installed; areas were leveled and smoothed; new shrubs were planted; bricks were replaced; the entrance to D. Rich Memorial Hall was extended; and a blue stone area was added to serve as host for a new bronzed university seal.

Measuring eight feet across, the seal is the largest medallion that Gemini, Inc. has casted since its founding in 1947, Roberts said. It features Campbell’s motto “Ad Astra Per Aspera,” or “to the stars through difficulties,” which “expresses the dreams and determination that Campbell friends hold for all those who pass their way,” Roberts said. It also includes an open Bible with a cross rising above it. This symbolizes “the source of all truth” and “the great sacrifice of Jesus who saves us and a way of life that we hope attracts all students,” Roberts said

In all, 67,000 pavers were used to rebuild the 16,750-square-foot area that’s home to the seal and that’s named for D. Rich. A former secretary and director of the J.R. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Rich was one of the earliest benefactors to Campbell. He gave the school $60,000 to construct its original library, Carrie Rich Memorial Hall, which was named for his first wife, who died in 1916.

When he died in 1924, Rich left what was then Buies Creek Academy one-eighth of his estate — nearly $160,000. That money was used to build D. Rich Memorial Hall, completed in 1926. In today’s dollars, that building would cost between $18 million to $20 million, making Rich’s estate gift the largest in Campbell’s history, equivalently.

“This is a beautiful day where significant things happened 90 years ago in the life of the university,” Campbell President Jerry Wallace said. “[D. Rich Memorial Hall] was built because a man who had means came to Buies Creek Academy and . . . felt compelled to help it. . . . Thank you D. Rich for what you did here.”

The blue stones and the university seal, Wallace said, were chosen to pay respect to Rich and to represent the university’s common values across its past, present, and future.

Drawing from Joshua 4:20-22, Wallace said: “The blue stones of the past and of the present mean we have a hallowed past that continues to anchor us in a very different century than when this school was born. . . . . [The D. Rich Commons] is an icon, is a monument, is a pillar to remind all of us who come here today that that is what we are all about — we continue to build . . . and continue to improve . . . and to go forward and to always anchor our faith. . . .

“The beautiful blue stone and the beautiful, beautiful Campbell seal,” he added, “is something that will be here for another 100 years or however long the Lord would want the school to exist.”

[Photos by Bill Parish (left) and Fly Boy Aerial (right)]

Wallace surprised with class ring during Ring Ceremony

During the university’s 2nd Annual Ring Ceremony Saturday morning in Butler Chapel, Campbell President Jerry Wallace presented 40 students with their official class ring. Afterward, Student Government Executive President Sue Ann Forrest and Vice President for Student Life Dennis Bazemore surprised Wallace by presenting him with his own official class ring.

Wallace announced this past spring that he will step down from the presidency in June 2015. Presenting him a ring, Bazemore said, was one tribute and token of appreciation for Wallace’s 45 years of service to Campbell, including his service as president for the past 11 years.

“One of the deepest regrets of my life is that I am not a Campbell alumnus,” Wallace told the nearly packed crowd after receiving the ring. “This ring is a symbol of all that Campbell has done for me, and I will wear this ring with great pride. I thank the student body and all of you for making this possible.”

The Campbell ring design features the year of the university’s founding, degree abbreviations, orange and black stones, the university seal, and imprints of three of the university’s campus landmarks: Kivett Hall’s tower, D. Rich Memorial Hall and the Dinah E. Gore Bell Tower.

Campbell’s ROTC Battalion placed the rings in the Bell Tower Friday evening and escorted them to the chapel as the Ring Ceremony began Saturday morning.

“This ring will open doors for you to share with others about Campbell,” Bazemore said in his opening remarks. “And in the years ahead, as you place this ring on your finger, you’ll be reminded of all Campbell did for you when you were a student and cause you think to think of what you can do for Campbell throughout your life.”

Campbell premiered its official class ring in April 2013 and held its first Ring Ceremony during last year’s Homecoming. Among the students who received a class ring at that time was Andrew Hall. Now the senior class president, Hall was in attendance for the second Ring Ceremony and addressed the newest group of students who purchased rings.

“This ring is a constant reminder of where I came from and where I’m headed,” Hall said. “This ring will instill within you a sense of pride — that Campbell pride that you can only get at this great university.”

Full-service Starbucks opens on main campus

Before the Ring Ceremony and the D. Rich Commons dedication Saturday, Campbell officially opened a fully-service Starbucks at 7 a.m. on the first floor of Wiggins Memorial Library.

One of the first customers was Jennifer Sexton, a freshman biology pre-professional major.

“This is great for Campbell,” said Sexton, who ordered a pumpkin spice Frappuccino. “It’s nice to have a coffee place on campus.”

Starbucks’ normal hours of operation will be as follows:

Monday-Thursday: 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Friday: 7 a.m.-6 p.m.

Saturday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Sunday: 10 a.m.-11 p.m.

Photo Gallery: 2014 Homecoming Parade

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Post by Campbell University.