Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Like a gardener who first cultivates his soil before planting seeds, Anthony Campbell not only takes great pride in the process, but in seeing the yield of his efforts once they have bloomed. Campbell, the associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students at Rider, may not literally work in the soil, but he was the driving force to bring the Bonner Leaders Program to Rider a decade ago. Since then, he has seen the service-oriented program blossom from five students to a robust group of 80, proving the University and its surrounding community with leaders who understand the value of service to others.
Campbell was recently honored for his work with the Bonner Leaders Program by the Bonner Foundation as the recipient of the Bonner Administrator Award. Though he humbly deflects praise for the award, Campbell does acknowledge that it reflects the vibrancy of the program at Rider, and for that, and he is thrilled for its success.
“I’m proud to be a part of a program that’s been able to enrich the lives of our students and the community beyond campus,” he said. “It’s such an essential part of our mission as a university.”
Still, Campbell’s commitment to the Bonner Leaders Program is known to many at Rider.
“Dr. Campbell is an advocate for the Bonner program every step of the way, selecting student participants and helping to identify institutional funding – at times providing his personal financial support to supplement stipend contributions,” wrote Rider President Mordechai Rozanski in nominating Campbell for the award.
Rozanski continued to highlight Campbell’s demonstrable record of leadership by example, citing his nine years spent as chair of the New Jersey Commission for National and Community Service, his membership on the foundation board of the Millhill Child and Family Development Center in Trenton, as well the Trenton Public Education Foundation Board. He is also a member of the Mercer Council on Alcohol and Drug Addiction.
“Dr. Campbell’s commitment to service learning has helped to foster a culture of service among our students,” Rozanski said.
Campbell introduced the Bonner Leaders Program to Rider’s Lawrenceville campus after arriving from Emory & Henry College in Virginia, where he had become a champion of its personal-development and community-service virtues. At Rider, students each perform 300 hours of community service, in cooperation with AmeriCorps, in exchange for tuition assistance. Students participate in afterschool programs for children, food banks, and community development programs like Habitat for Humanity.
To Campbell, and to the students involved, the Bonner Leaders Program represents much more than tuition assistance in exchange for service.
“It’s important for students to cultivate a life of service,” he explained. “Servant leadership is an essential component of the University’s Statement of Community Values, and we’ve seen lots of Bonner students continue to have careers in service after they graduate. What makes me feel good about the program is seeing how committed they are to it.”
Campbell also says that one of the most valuable components of the Bonner Leaders Program is that it teaches more than service. “For the students who are involved, it is a way to learn about structural issues, such as why poverty exists in the first place,” he explained. “Bonner also brings to campus awareness of other external issues, too, such as Hunger Awareness Week and the STAND for Darfur movement. This serves as a stimulant for other activities.”
Based in Princeton, the Corella & Bertram F. Bonner Foundation was activated in 1989, and has since become one of the nation’s largest privately funded service scholarship programs, and a philanthropic leader in the anti-hunger movement. The Bonner Foundation supports the Bonner Scholars Program, Bonner Leaders Program, and other initiatives that engage students and colleges at 75 colleges and universities to improve the lives of individuals and communities while providing an access to education and opportunity to serve.