Gerry Campbell, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 1980

Philosophy, St. Jerome's College

Gerard T. Campbell is an assistant professor and chairman of the Department of Philosophy at St. Jerome's College, and becomes the first person from one of the Federated or Affiliated Colleges to receive a Distinguished Teacher Award. He joined the faculty of St. Jerome's in 1967, later spent two years away completing his PhD, and has been an assistant professor since 1974; a few weeks from now he will advance to the rank of associate professor. His scholarship has included studying the work of Jean-Paul Sartre, the great French thinker who died this year, as well as writing the French texts for two books by Canadian artist William Kurelek. The graduates and students who nominated professor Campbell for a Distinguished Teacher Award spoke highly of his lecturing and seminar teaching at every level. They described his classroom presentations as organized and clear, and added that he does what many lecturers only think they ought to do, that is, prepare every class anew no matter how many times it has been taught before. But they put even more stress on his teaching in less formal ways.”He taught me in the classroom,” one former student wrote, “but I am even more grateful for the hours he spent with me and others over coffee and at his home, answering our questions and, what is more, not afraid to talk of things that concerned our vocations in life.” Such remarks appeared over and over. One former student wrote: “I have always felt free to approach him with whatever problem I had. Indeed, it is not uncommon for there to be a line-up of students outside his door and, if he is not in his office, he is sure to be down in the cafeteria talking to his students.” Professor Campbell has “an absolute respect” for students, the nominators said, and a respect for his material as well. One of them even compared him to Socrates, “leading his students through the maze of implications involved in their convictions and assisting them in putting order in their thoughts and belief.” The “lasting influence” which is an essential qualification for a Distinguished Teacher Award is clearly evident in a professor who receives the kind of testimonials professor Campbell did. Several came from former students who are now teachers themselves, several from people who have gone on to study for the priesthood, and one from a mechanical engineer who calls him “an example of integrity, innovation and excellence.” The president of St. Jerome's College supported everything the students said in praise of professor Campbell. He “has the ability,” the president wrote, “to relate his subject to contemporary events and events of immediate relevance to the lives and times of students, thereby making his courses interesting to them. He can be strong in his convictions and in so doing he also teaches his students the meaning and value of commitment to truth.”

[Professor Campbell died in 2004]