Wallace Fellows come away with lessons in leadership, character and being a neighbor

Graduate students from health sciences and law programs finish program focusing on servant leadership and character

The world needs more neighbors. 

In a nutshell, this is what the Wallace Servant Leadership & Character Fellowship program at Campbell University is all about. And the nine students who were celebrated by former Campbell President (and program namesake) Jerry Wallace on April 26 as Wallace Fellows expressed what the experience has meant to them and how they plan to “pay it forward” in their professional careers. 

“Campbell has been such an awesome place for me to learn and grow as a person,” said Meaghan Nazareth, a soon-to-be Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine graduate who plans to focus on pediatrics in her upcoming residency. “In addition to learning about the importance of being a good neighbor and being a servant leader, this program has helped us figure out what it takes to be leaders without our own programs and that we’re working to serve others. It’s a big part of our professional education here.” 

Students from medicine, law, pharmacy, public health and Campbell’s physician assistant program took part in this year’s fellowship, which is designed to “challenge students and faculty to accept the call to servant leadership through recognition, support and encouragement” through coursework (taught by Wallace), internships and other projects.  

Students this year were required to read four books, all focusing on the importance of leadership: “The Roach to Character” by David Brooks, “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande, “David and Goliath” by Malcolm Gladwell and “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. According to Nazareth, Biblical passages like the parable of the Good Samaritan were also an important part of the curriculum.

“That parable shows us compassion, humility and taking initiative to serve others,” she said, “in addition to engaging with people and demonstrating courage. These are some of the things I hope we all continue to strive to bring about as we go on in our next steps in life.” 

Joining Nazareth in the program were Dallas Kraiser, a doctor of osteopathic medicine candidate; doctor of physical therapy candidates Alan Bennett and Connor Tripp; master of physician assistant candidates Bethany Bibey and Elizabeth Fogle; 2023 Campbell School of Law graduate Brigitte Kelly; master of science in public health candidate Jack Talton and doctor of pharmacy candidate Joy Morrow. Also honored on April 26 were Wallace Scholarship recipients Caleb Atkins, Allyiah Swiney and Abigail Tuyo. 

Wallace, who will turn 90 next year, says the upcoming 2024-25 program will be his last after leading and teaching it for nine years. He said the program began with the Norman A. Wiggins School of Law originally, but recently expanded to include Campbell’s growing health sciences programs. The word “character” was also added to the title of the program very intentionally, Wallace said. That focus goes back to Wallace’s belief that the world is better off when compassion wins out over war. 

“The world’s problems will never be solved by munitions,” he said. “[Character] was an integral part of my education at home, and it was an integral part of my education as a child in public education. But because [our world is] so diverse and pluralistic, we are vastly divided. We must find a way to teach character again. I’m hoping Campbell University will be able to do this — to teach elements of what it means to be a good person and a person of character, whether they’re studying math, education or anything. We need to be neighbors. It can be the bedrock of what this school is all about.”

Wallace also surprised Rev. Faithe Beam, vice president for student life and Christian mission, by honoring her with the Jerry M. Wallace Faculty Award for Servant Leadership & Character.

“I’ve known [Rev. Beam] for many years, and she exhibits everything about good scholarship, good character and a love of humanity, a love of learning and a sense of humility,” Wallace said. “And she goes the extra mile in caring for others.”