John Campbell was born June 14, 1933 near Goodman in southwest Missouri. From his modest rural background he learned early in life the value of dedication, honesty, and hard work. His youthful experiences working on the family livestock and fruit farm, and in attending classes in a two room rural schoolhouse, helped instill a strong awareness of the value of both “hands on” and formal education.
He earned BS, MS, and PhD degrees at the University of Missouri in 1955, 1956, and 1960 respectively.
His career in higher education consisted of outstanding service at the University of Missouri, University of Illinois, and Oklahoma State University. After completing his graduate work at MU, John joined the MU College of Agriculture as an instructor in dairy science and became a full professor in 1968. During his tenure at MU and elsewhere? he received many awards for his teaching including the Outstanding Educator of America and the Ensminger-Interstate National and American Dairy Science Association teaching awards.
In 1977 John moved to the University of Illinois as a faculty member and associate dean of the College of Agriculture, becoming dean of the College in 1983.
John was president of Oklahoma State University from 1988 to 1993 and he continued on the faculty as president emeritus and professor until 1999. Throughout his distinguished career as a dairy scientist, teacher, administrator, and author, John remained steadfast in his commitment to the land grant philosophy of higher education. He firmly believed in providing educational and career opportunities for the sons and daughters of rural America and to all those dedicated to the interests of agriculture. Above all, John evidenced a strong faith in agriculture as a meaningful profession and a builder of strong human values.
“Having taught all or parts of some ten courses at MU, the University of Illinois, and Oklahoma State University, I had the privilege of teaching more than 12,000 students many of whom served as president or other officers in the Student Division of the American Dairy Science Association,” John said.
“Many are now serving on the faculty of several major colleges of agriculture and veterinary medicine as well as in farming and business industries. I’m proud of them all.”
John, a lifetime member of the American Dairy Science Association, served as its president in 1980-81. He has served as a member of the board of directors of various organizations including the Marine Bank, Springfield, Ill., from 1983 to 1996 and the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Ore., from 1998 to the present. He currently is an evaluator consultant for North Central College and University Accreditation, Chicago.
As a writer John is author or co-author of five books. One of his early books written with the late John Lasley, MU professor of animal science, was an animal science text printed in 1969 with second and third editions in 1975 and 1985 and a fourth edition will be off the press early this spring. Other books include “In Touch with Students”; a dairy and food science text with co-author Robert T. Marshall, MU faculty member; and “Reclaiming A Lost Heritage-Land Grant and Other Higher Education for the 21st Century.”
A recent book, “Dry Rot in the Ivory Tower: A Case for Fumigation, Ventilation, and Renewal of the Academic Sanctuary,” was published in 2000. According to Judith E. N. Albino, president, California School of Professional Psychology and president emeritus, University of Colorado, author of the book’s foreword, “Dry Rot in the Ivory Tower is a heartfelt, angry call to arms, asking us to look squarely at what we have either wrought or allowed to flourish in higher education. It calls attention to the gradual but pernicious proliferation of destructive forces at college campuses across the nation.”
John married Eunice Vieten, a Missouri Guernsey breeder’s daughter, of Sullivan Aug. 7, 1954. She earned a degree in home economics, with honors, at MU. The Campbell children – Karen, Kathy, and Keith – also shared their parent’s strong belief in education and the importance of striving for personal and professional excellence.
Karen and Kathy, both university honor graduates, have careers in the respective professional fields of veterinary medicine and pharmacy. Keith died in 1980 while a high school senior.
John also served his country as an officer in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1958 at Ft. Sill, Okla., and Ft. Riley, Kans. In addition, he was a member of the Missouri Army National Guard from 1958 to 1978.
He was nominated for the Hall of Honors Meritorious Service Award by University of Missouri faculty members.