When Royal Stewart Campbell considered creating an endowed scholarship fund at the University of Mississippi, what appealed to him was the “forever” aspect of the gift.
The Austin, Texas, retired businessman said there are many worthy charities to support but a scholarship endowment bearing his and his family members’ names not only becomes a permanent part of his alma mater, but it also will assist Ole Miss accountancy students for generations to come. He is providing $507,000 to fund scholarships for the Patterson School of Accountancy.
“A scholarship endowment goes on forever – its impact is felt from now on,” Campbell said. “I could give to many different charities, but I wonder if they would remember me tomorrow. I’ve always wanted to do something for people who didn’t have the resources I’ve been blessed to have. I thought it would be nice to help individuals attend the University of Mississippi.”
The Campbell Scholarship Endowment bears the names of Campbell; his late mother, Martha Stewart; his late wife, Joyce Higginbotham Campbell; and his children, R. Stewart Campbell Jr. of Dallas and Elizabeth Higginbotham Campbell of New York. The scholarship is designated for students from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where his mother grew up.
Stewart Campbell is a lifelong Texan, living in Dallas and Austin, but across the years he visited the Mississippi Gulf Coast with his family to see his maternal grandparents, Royal and Martha Stewart. “I ended up getting pressure from my mom to enroll at Ole Miss,” Campbell explained, “and I can tell you that I loved every minute of my college experience. I used to visit around different parts of the state as I was invited to the homes of my classmates.”
That created another inspiration for Campbell’s gift, the state itself.
“Mississippi sometimes receives negative publicity when a poll comes out that puts it near the bottom in various rankings,” he said. “Education can be the solution to a lot of issues. Through this scholarship gift, I also hope to help the state by expanding educational opportunities.”
UM Chancellor Dan Jones, who visited the 1952 alumnus in his Austin home, says Campbell’s story is unique.
“Mr. Campbell has not returned to the Oxford campus since graduation, but his alma mater and adopted state have stayed uppermost in his mind. He has made a point of keeping up with our progress through various Ole Miss publications and newspaper articles over the years, and he has made a thoughtful decision to support young Mississippians through the Campbell Scholarship Endowment. We are deeply appreciative of Mr. Campbell’s meaningful gift that will serve as a permanent tribute to his dedication to students and to the University of Mississippi.”
Campbell earned a business degree during his time on the Oxford campus, but his pride in the university’s Patterson School of Accountancy led him to designate his support for accountancy. All three of the accountancy programs are ranked nationally in the Top 10 by the Public Accounting Report. All-time highs recently were reached, with the undergraduate program at No. 4, graduate program at No. 5, and doctoral program at No. 8. This places all three programs as No. 1 in the Southeastern Conference.
“The Patterson School has such a wonderful reputation,” Campbell said. “Ole Miss is fortunate to have a school like that. I consider accounting to be the mainstay of business – I’ve always been interested in accounting. This scholarship will assist students in earning accountancy degrees.”
Mark Wilder, dean of the Patterson School of Accountancy, says Campbell’s investment will be felt for generations to come.
“We are humbled and honored by Mr. Campbell’s belief in our program and profoundly grateful to him for this incredible investment in our students. His gift of endowed funds will enable us to recruit outstanding students from the Mississippi Gulf Coast who will continually strengthen the University and the Patterson School. Mr. Campbell’s gift truly is a reflection of his desire to help others enjoy greater opportunities by earning college degrees. The Campbell Scholarship Endowment will help generation upon generation of young Mississippians attend Ole Miss.”
Debbie Vaughn, senior executive director of development said, “Mr. Campbell serves as such an inspiration to all of us in the Ole Miss family. Evidenced by this gift, he cares greatly for others, and his legacy through the Campbell Scholarships will, indeed, go on forever. We thank him for giving back to his university and thus paving the way for deserving young people to realize their dreams.”
Campbell has many positive memories of his Ole Miss experience, including some related to accountancy professor Joe Cerny – not in the classroom but on the water. As a student Campbell owned an outboard motor, and he and Cerny would rent a boat and fish to their hearts’ desire at neighboring Sardis Lake. Cerny also served as the financial adviser to Campbell’s fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
Upon graduation, Campbell returned to Dallas and was drafted into the U.S. Army. The Korean War was taking place, and fortunately, he was assigned to serve in France for three years. After military service, Campbell returned to Dallas, where he worked as a stockbroker for 15 years, then enjoyed a 20-year career as an independent real estate broker. Campbell’s daughter Elizabeth is an advertising executive in New York, and son Stewart Jr. is the director of Campbell Energy Partners in Dallas.
Part of the donor’s gift is planned, which gives him membership in the 1848 Society, named for the year the university opened the Lyceum doors to the first students. The society recognizes generous alumni and friends who thoughtfully provide for the university through planned and deferred gifts. For more information, interested individuals can call the UM Foundation at 800-340-9542 or 662-915-5944, or visit www.umfoundation.com/planning.