Millie Wiggins, longtime matriarch of Campbell University, dies at 98

Mildred “Millie” Harmon Wiggins, Campbell matriarch and wife of former president Norman Adrian Wiggins, died this morning after a brief illness.

Millie was born on September 23, 1920 to the late Eula Green Stephenson and Rufus Benton Harmon.

For 36 years, she defined the role of First Lady of Campbell with elegance and grace. She left behind a career as a school teacher when her husband was selected as Campbell’s third president in 1967, advising him during a time of rapid growth for the school, which included the launch of a law school in 1976 and a pharmacy school 10 years later.

“She was Campbell’s rock for 40 years. Her service to and the personal sacrifices she made for this University cannot be overstated, and they could not be celebrated enough,” said Campbell President J. Bradley Creed. “The wonderful legacy of Norman Adrian Wiggins’ presidency simply isn’t possible without Millie Wiggins. She is already extraordinarily missed.”

A native of Coats, Millie Wiggins attended Campbell College in 1947 and 1948 after working at Fort Bragg during World War II. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest College and a master’s degree from Columbia University. Among her many honors are Campbell’s Alumni Service Award, received in 1998, and the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, received in 2007.

She served as a teacher in the Rocky Mount and Winston-Salem school systems before coming to Campbell. She was by her husband’s side when Campbell attained university status and supported him through the development of five professional schools and the often-intimidating accreditation process.

As a former teacher and a master-of-arts graduate, Millie Wiggins was not only a hostess for innumerable University occasions, but an invaluable editor and adviser to the president. She continued to support Campbell after Norman Adrian Wiggins’ death in 2007 and throughout the rest of her life. The tree-shrouded house she shared with her husband in Keith Hills remained her home for 50 years. She loved her garden and her animals; many a stray pet found a home with Millie Wiggins over the years and she feed the wild critters daily.

Those who knew her personally can attest to the sharpness of her mind, the kindness of her heart and her gift for always knowing just the right words to say, both as a hostess and a friend.

Millie was predeceased by her sister, Mary Harmon Ennis, and brothers, Harrison Harmon and Bill Harmon.

Survivors include nephews Bennie Harmon, Clyde Ennis, Frankie Harmon, Bobby Harmon, Norman Wiggins, David Courie, Steve Chandler; nieces Debbie Harmon Hinson, Linda Harmon Weese, Annette Harmon Stevens, Ann Harmon Stevens, Delores Harmon Pope, Ann Raynor Courie, Diane Wiggins Seagroves, Vickie Wiggins Dodson, Christie Wiggins Childers, Jaimene Wiggins Hamilton, Catherine Courie Browell, Diane Wiggins; extended family Peggy Foster, Prince Ajiboye and and two “adopted” grandchildren, Norman Ajiboye and Violet Ajiboye Sun-Basorun.

The family wishes to express sincere appreciation to Caroline Allen, Gene Hickman and the Senior Helpers for the excellent care given to Millie over the years.

Gifts in memory of Millie Wiggins may be directed to: the Mildred H. & Norman A. Wiggins Endowed Fund at Campbell University, P.O. Box 116, Buies Creek, NC 27506 or online at, or to the Harnett County Animal Shelter at PO Box 940, Lillington, NC 27546.

A service celebrating her life will be held on May 16th at 2 pm, in Butler Chapel, 60 T. T. Lanier Street, Buies Creek, NC, a reception and visitation will follow the service. There will be a private interment.