north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

      Campbell University, a Baptist institution of higher learning, was founded as Buies Creek Academy on January 5, 1887, by James Archibald Campbell, a local Baptist minister and graduate of Wake Forest College. The original enrollment was only twenty-one male students, but by 1898 the academy had three buildings and over sixty pupils. Two years later, on Dec. 20, 1900, a fire consumed every wooden campus building with the exception of a large tabernacle.

      A possibly apocryphal story associated with the fire concerns the origin of the current university’s rather unusual mascot, the Fighting Camel. When local entrepreneur Zachary Taylor Kivett found Campbell moping after the conflagration, he asked “Why are you in bed? I thought Campbells had humps on them.” Kivett pledged on the spot to build a new brick building, which was completed in 1903 and was named for him. It is the oldest building on the present campus.

      Playwright Paul Green studied at Buies Creek Academy. In 1926, the school became a junior college and its name changed to Campbell College in honor of its founder. Thirty-five years later the school was promoted to a senior college, and in 1979 received its university status. Three years prior to officially becoming a university, the college opened Campbell School of Law. By the early 2000s the school’s enrollment consisted of nearly 10,000 students including those at extension campuses.

J. Winston Pearce, Campbell College: Big Miracle at Little Buies Creek (1985)
Norman A. Wiggins, Campbell University: A Thanksgiving, Mandate, and Challenge (1993)
William S. Powell, Higher Education in North Carolina (1964)
William S. Powell, ed., Encyclopedia of North Carolina (2006)
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north carolina highway historical marker program

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources