Wiggins retires, Wallace named president at CU
May 30 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Wiggins retires, Wallace named president at CU | Friday, May 30, 2003

Friday, May 30, 2003

Wiggins retires, Wallace named president at CU

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

BUIES CREEK - Norman A. Wiggins, president of Campbell University since 1967, announced his retirement May 29. Following a called meeting the same day, university trustees announced the appointment of longtime administrator Jerry M. Wallace as president. In the school's 116-year history, there were only three previous presidents.

Wallace served as acting president two years ago when Wiggins took a six-month sabbatical while fighting lymphoma.

Wiggins retires

Wiggins, 79, had given no indication of plans to retire and showed no apparent signs of illness during graduation ceremonies on May 12. Days later, however, he was taken to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, suffering from dehydration. School officials did not confirm the cause of Wiggins' current illness.

The trustees said Wiggins will assume the title of chancellor after returning from a sabbatical that could last up to a year. School officials said his role as chancellor has yet to be defined, but will not include day-to-day operations of the school.

Under Wiggins' leadership, Campbell College grew to become a full-fledged university and the second largest private university in North Carolina, adding graduate programs in law, education, business, pharmacy and divinity. In 2002-03, Campbell's enrollment included about 4,000 students on campus, and another 6,000 students in off-campus programs at Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, Research Triangle Park and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Wiggins, a former Marine, also introduced and supported an award-winning ROTC program on campus.

Wiggins attended Campbell when it was still a junior college, later graduating from Wake Forest University. He worked in banking as a trust officer and studied at the Columbia School of Law before returning to Wake Forest in 1956, where he served as professor of law and general counsel.

In 1967, Wiggins was appointed the third president of Campbell College.

"It is absolutely incredible what happened down there," said Roy J. Smith, former executive director of the Baptist State Convention (BSC). "He (Wiggins) never made an apology for the school's Baptist heritage or Christian mission, and he was able to do that while pursuing the highest academic standards."

Campbell's growth and addition of graduate schools did not come without opposition, Smith said, but "He really had the ability to face strong opposition with courage and good humor."

Dwaine Greene, Campbell's provost and vice-president of academic affairs, said Wiggins' achievements are "unmatched in the history of church-related higher education."

"While the breadth of Dr. Wiggins' achievements are stunning," Greene said, "his noblest accomplishment has been his absolute and unswerving devotion to the Christian purpose of Campbell University."

Wiggins has also been an active layman, serving in many roles within the BSC and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). These include service as president of the BSC, as president of the national fellowship of Baptist Men, and as chair of the trustees for the SBC's Sunday School Board (now LifeWay Resources).

"He is without question a legendary figure among Baptists in North Carolina," said Jim Royston, current executive director-treasurer of the BSC. Royston described Wiggins as "one of the finest CEOs any institution, denominational or secular, could ever ask for... he is a true treasure."

Wayne Wike, executive director of the BSC's Council on Christian Higher Education, said "North Carolina Baptists are indebted to Dr. Norman Wiggins for his commitment to Christian higher education. Few equal his stature and desire to improve our life as Baptists through an educated clergy and laity."

Wallace named president

Wallace, 68, is a native of Rockingham. He earned an undergraduate degree at East Carolina University, two graduate degrees at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and two further degrees, including an Ed.D., from N.C. State University.

Wallace joined the Campbell faculty as an adjunct professor in 1970, and became chairman of the department of religion and philosophy and Tyner Professor of Religion in 1975. He was appointed dean of the college and director of graduate studies in 1981, and in 1984 became vice-president of academic affairs and provost, a position he held until June of 2001. Since serving as acting president during Wiggins' sabbatical two years ago, he has taught in the divinity school and served as special assistant to the president.

Greene said Wallace is a good choice. "He not only brings proven experience to the position, but he has both a comprehensive and a balanced understanding of Campbell's various operations. He carries the banner of Campbell's sterling tradition, while being a progressive and innovative administrator who no doubt will be an effective president."

Harold Wells, current chair of the Campbell University trustees, said "Jerry Wallace is a man of impeccable character, demonstrated ability, proven experience, and unswerving devotion to the Christian purposes of Campbell University. There is no individual with a better combination of qualifications."

Wallace said he was honored and humbled to be entrusted with the position. "With a reliance and trust in the care and provision of God, I am committed to upholding the purpose of Campbell University as a distinctive Christian university and in honoring and extending the unique legacy of Dr. Wiggins, with whom I have worked for more than thirty-three years," he said.

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5/30/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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