Campbell to be Named ‘Friend of the University’

Photo of Harryette Campbell

Harryette Campbell

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 21, 2011 — Harryette Campbell of Sikeston, Mo., an area landowner with farming interests, will receive the 2011 Friend of the University Award from the Southeast Missouri University Foundation.

Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, will present the award at an evening event Feb. 25 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at Southeast’s River Campus.

The Friend of the University award, which recognizes those who support and who are closely associated with the mission, purposes, plans and programs of the University, is the highest honor bestowed by the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. When the Foundation Board established the award, it also established the criteria for the Friend of the University. The Friend of the University must have the respect of the community and the University, and must have acted to confirm their interest and involvement with the University.

“Harryette Campbell has a true passion for helping students achieve their dreams and has a special love for Southeast Missouri State because of the difference she believes it makes in students’ lives and the southeast Missouri region. Her many gifts to this University will benefit students now and into the future,” Dobbins said. 

“Harryette has given to many and varied programs at Southeast,” he added. “She has been supportive of the River Campus and of the theatre and dance program because of the value she believes it brings to the region. She also has a special interest in the University Museum because of her lifetime interest in anthropology. She has supported Southeast students in anthropology for many years after this discipline sparked her interest as a college student. She has supported scholarships in agriculture and liberal arts because of the value she believes these programs are making right here in this region.”

Born and raised in southeast Missouri, Campbell grew up on a farm near Lilbourn, Mo., which sparked a lifelong interest in agriculture. She became the first member of her family to receive a college degree after graduating from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in English.  Campbell then returned to southeast Missouri, established her home in Sikeston, Mo., and partnered with her brother in the cotton gin industry in Bell City, Mo., keeping the books and records for their business.

After her brother’s death in 1992, Campbell decided to return to her family’s farm where she manages several thousand acres of farmland by coordinating government agricultural programs, selling crops and managing the farm’s books.

Last year, Campbell made a gift to the Southeast Missouri University Foundation to endow the H.B. Campbell Memorial Scholarship in memory of her father. The scholarship is to be awarded to female students majoring in agriculture at Southeast’s Sikeston campus.

To Campbell, education is of utmost importance in life. That’s why she has chosen to give the gift of education to Southeast Missouri State University students in the form of scholarships and endowments. More than 30 Southeast students have benefited from scholarships given by Campbell over the years.

In 2005, Campbell made a gift to the Southeast Missouri University Foundation to endow a scholarship at Southeast Missouri State University-Sikeston for students living in southeast Missouri and attending the Sikeston campus.   Later that year, she was presented with a Distinguished Service Award from the University for her lasting contributions to Southeast and her community. 

Campbell has supported Southeast through other donations as well.  She is a donor to the William Shakespeare Circle, the Theatre and Dance Guild and the Department of Foreign Language and Anthropology.

In addition, the Thomas Beckwith Collection in the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum at Southeast’s River Campus is housed in the Harryette J. Campbell Visible Storage area. The Beckwith Collection contains 900 whole ceramic vessels and effigy fragments plus about 2,000 lithics. Most of the objects in the collection were excavated by Thomas Beckwith at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries from mounds on his property in southeast Missouri. In 1913, Beckwith donated his collection to the Third District Normal School, the predecessor to Southeast Missouri State University. Since 1976, the collection has been housed in the Southeast Missouri Regional Museum. Today the collection provides unique insights into the culture and lives of prehistoric Native peoples of this region.

As an archeological hobbyist and an experienced international traveler, Campbell also has made a contribution to enable students studying abroad to participate in “Harryette Campbell Days.” These day trips allow students to experience unique educational opportunities in the country in which they are traveling.  

These day trips have provided considerable opportunities for Southeast students.  Her “travel scholarships” have sent Southeast students to Fiji, Romania, Costa Rica and Spain.  All students involved in the University’s exchange programs have benefited from Campbell’s generous contributions.

The Southeast Missouri University Foundation has recognized Campbell for her generosity through the years by naming her a Heritage Club member in the President’s Council, a Horizon Club member and a dean in the Copper Dome Society.

“Harryette Campbell’s generosity will have a significant and lasting impact on Southeast Missouri State University,” Dobbins said. “On behalf of our faculty, staff and especially our students, I want to express our deepest appreciation.”