Grateful for his Campbell University education and for the parents who raised him, Lew Starling’s (’87) gift to the Wiggins Memorial Library has honored both.
The library hosted a naming ceremony on Tuesday in honor of L. Donald Starling Sr. and the late Annell Daughtry Starling, made possible by Lew Starling’s gift to fund the library’s new Teaching Resource Center to equip faculty with skills and resources to make a difference in the lives of Campbell students.
Starling, flanked by his father, two daughters and several friends, talked about the long history between his family and Campbell and his own experiences with the man the library is named for.
“Dr. [Norman Adrian] Wiggins was on the Lundy board with my grandfather, and my law partner Leo [Daughtry] was a student of his at Wake Forest,” Starling said. “I was scared of Dr. Wiggins when I was a student, and looking at his picture [in the lobby], I’m still scared of him now.”
L. Donald Starling and Annell Daughtry met at a Belk’s department store in Clinton during a summer break when they were teenagers — Donald was helping his father (the manager) during the summer, and Annell was there to shop. They were married at her home church, Goshen United Methodist in Newton Grove, and moved to Clinton to start their life together.
The Starlings owned several businesses in addition to tobacco warehouses and a farm supply store. They were longtime members of First Baptist Church of Clinton and attended regularly for 65 years before Annell’s death in January of this year at the age of 89.
Lew Starling earned his degree in business administration from Campbell before continuing his education at the Wake Forest School of Law. While at Campbell, Staring served as president of the Adam Smith Club.
His gift will go toward the Teaching Resource Center, which will open in the fall, according to Elizabeth Dobbins, assistant dean of the library and head of research and instruction services. Dobbins said she hopes the center will “empower our faculty to build on their skills and experiment with new pedagogies — new approaches to teaching.”
“We imagined a flexible space where faculty could tinker with their teaching in a low-stakes environment,” Dobbins said. “Thanks to [the Starling family], we were able to select unique tables and chairs that can be configured in countless ways, allowing faculty to experiment with different active learning arrangements.
“We imagined a high-tech space where we could seamlessly support not only main campus faculty but also our online and extended campus instructors. Thanks to [the Starling family], we were able to select truly innovative technology that will enable hybrid and hyflex workshops, even as the physical space may be reconfigured.”
The center will be led by librarian Jennifer Seagraves and will include a circulating print and e-resource collection, faculty-led workshop series and campus conversations and collaborations (such as book clubs). Dobbins said the goal is to strengthen collaboration and communication
between faculty, curate a collection of materials to promote effective teaching and learning, highlight diversity and inclusion in teaching practices, identify research-based best practices in teaching and foster teaching practices that support the “whole student.”
“Research has demonstrated there is a social aspect to learning, one that college communities so effectively cultivate in our students,” Dobbins said. “The TRC will allow us to cultivate this peer-to-peer learning in our faculty, as well, as they gather to teach and learn from one another.”
President J. Bradley Creed thanked Starling and his family for their support and said in learning more about Annell Starling, was struck by her generosity toward others.
“I love libraries. They are a foundation of knowledge and learning. And so we are very encouraged and happy to be here today to celebrate this wonderful gift. And it’s been our honor to get to know Lew Starling and his family.”