September. Summer days become memories as we rush to buy our textbooks and stock up on Raman noodles for the semester. It brings me back to my first trip to Rider and the journey that began there five years ago. In retrospect, my family and I have a good laugh about the homesickness I had as a freshman, but during those first few months, the anxiety and loneliness were no laughing matter. As cliché as it may seem, freshman seminar helped me through my first semester, mostly because of the man behind the podium — Dean Campbell.
During seminar, Dean Campbell spent time calming my pre-test jitters and talking with me about what I would major in. With his encouragement and guidance, I made it through the first semester without transferring or having a nervous breakdown. I also found my place in the Communication and Journalism Department, which I miss terribly.
I continued to work with Dean Campbell after that first year, soon becoming the peer mentor for the freshman seminar class I was once part of. We laughed about my freshman experience and talked about the future. Through the years, Dean Campbell became a mentor and friend. With an open door and listening ear, he did his best to guide me through whatever troubles I had.
Approaching my senior year, I became anxious about life after graduation. And so, Dean Campbell and I tackled the issue of graduate school, discussing it during the summer and when I returned as a senior. He wrote me several letters of recommendation, and as the acceptance and rejection letters came in, I stopped by his office to keep him updated. As graduation approached, I began to feel as confused and alone as I did when I was a freshman, the decision of which grad school bearing down upon me. And so I made my final stop at Dean Campbell’s office for some words of wisdom, but this time the words didn’t come from him. Others in the office had congratulated me on my acceptance to Syracuse University and wished me luck; I knew where Dean Campbell felt I should be, even if I didn’t have the confidence to make the decision.
Now, fast-forward to this summer. My father called to deliver the news that Dean Campbell had been charged with aggravated hazing. As I drove home from work, my four years at Rider, filled with many memories of Dean Campbell, were stuck on repeat in my mind. I couldn’t believe how these charges could be brought against such a caring administrator who has not only welcomed so many of us into Rider’s gates but tried his best to make our experience within them a positive and memorable one. I reached out to my Rider family, which Dean Campbell help me fit into, as we supported him and shared our memories.
With the charges a memory, I can’t imagine Rider’s family without Dean Campbell, and I congratulate both him and Rider on his return.
— Cathleen Ziegler
Class of 2006