Alumni Profiles    

Francis C. Campbell, '78
Marlowe Sherwood Memorial Service Award, 2007

The Marlowe Sherwood Memorial Service Award recognizes alumni who excel as volunteers in their communities. The 2007 recipient, Francis “Pete” Campbell, ’78, so impressed the volunteer coordinator at Banner Homecare and Hospice of Arizona that she brought Campbell to the Alumni Association’s attention.

Campbell, who credits his success to the education he received at Park, graduated from the Williams Air Force Base Campus Center near Mesa, Ariz.  He is the first recipient of an Alumni Association award from the University’s Park Distance Learning. He came to the Parkville campus for the first time to participate in Alumni Weekend 2006.

Campbell always demonstrated an inclination toward service and muses about mowing the parish lawn for free as a child. When he was 11 he began a self-defined form of hospice care, reading to and studying with a bedridden friend. Years later, after retiring from careers in the military and teaching, Campbell still devotes volunteer time at a hospice center in his hometown of Mesa.  

In 1954 at the age of 17, he joined the Air Force. By 1968 he was a civil affairs officer in Vietnam, serving as a liaison between the Army and civilian authorities and populations.

“If a Vietnamese official contacted me about a needed building, it was my job to get materials and people to build it,” he said. “The base medical personnel, myself and an escort would go to villages and do dentistry and medical care once a month.”

The job appealed to Campbell’s humanitarian nature. “I had a good job — I didn’t have to shoot at anyone and had enough sense to duck when they shot at me.” The Air Force honored his program for excellence, and the Air Force Times ran his picture on the front page.

Even with his accomplishments, Campbell insists that he’s “nothing special.” “What makes me different is that I’ve taken every opportunity for education that faced me and done the best that I could with that chance.”

He returned from Vietnam to Williams Air Force Base and took advantage of his GI Bill education benefits. In September 1978 he received a Park degree in social psychology with an emphasis in guidance and counseling. He earned a teaching certificate and taught special education in the Mesa public schools for 19 years until 1998 and simultaneously taught classes in creative writing and in the athletic department at Mesa Community College until retiring in 2004.

By September 2005 he was volunteering 30 hours a week at Banner Homecare and Hospice of Arizona. He works in the assistant to the volunteer coordinator’s office and sees three elderly patients during home visits.  With over 1100 hours to his credit, he was recognized as the organization’s top volunteer in 2006. 

So much for retirement. “I decided to get off the couch and do volunteer work. I prayed long and hard for the best place for me. I believe God directed me toward Banner Homecare and Hospice.”

Campbell’s religious life has always played an important role in his decisions. He volunteers for his church and teaches Bible studies. He also works with the Knights of Columbus.

The Park founders’ dream was to create a sense of social responsibility through service to others. Frances Campbell exemplifies this basic Park University principle.