Loved Every Minute
By Tina Hahn
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 says there are many worthy charities to support. A scholarship endowment bearing his and his family members' names, however, not only becomes a permanent part of his alma mater, but will also assist Ole Miss accountancy students for generations to come. He is providing $507,000 ($400,000 of which as a planned gift) to fund scholarships for the Patterson School of Accountancy.
"A scholarship endowment goes on forever-its impact is felt from now on," Stewart says. "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 Stewart; his late mother, Martha Stewart; his late wife, Joyce Higginbotham Campbell; and his children, R. Stewart Campbell Jr. and Elizabeth Higginbotham Campbell. The scholarship is designated for students from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where his mother grew up.
Falling in Love With Mississippi
Stewart 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," Stewart explains, "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 experience created another inspiration for Stewart'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 says. "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 Stewart'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."
The Mainstay of Business
Stewart 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," Stewart says. "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 Stewart'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," he says. "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, says, "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."
Ole Miss and Beyond
Stewart 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, Stewart owned an outboard motor, and he and Joe would rent a boat and fish to their hearts' content at neighboring Sardis Lake. Joe also served as the financial advisor to Stewart's fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
Upon graduation, Stewart 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, Stewart returned to Dallas, where he worked as a stockbroker for 15 years, then enjoyed a 20-year career as an independent real estate broker. Stewart's daughter, Elizabeth, is an advertising executive in New York, and son, Stewart Jr., is the director of Campbell Energy Partners in Dallas.
Inspire Others by Joining the 1848 Society
Part of Stewart'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 about becoming a member, call Sandra Guest at 662-915-5208.