William Campbell leaves a lasting impression on the students he taught at Drew.

October 2015 – The news that longtime Drew fellow William Campbell was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize for Medicine prompted kudos from many of his former students.

Campbell taught for 20 years at Drew, with its Research Institute for Scientists Emeriti program and the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies. He stopped teaching five years ago, but continues to visit Drew regularly to lecture honors science students.

Past students recall the Irishman’s eloquence, even-handedness and dry wit. They also remember a professor who found joy in the arts as much as in science. In short, Campbell left a lasting impression on these men and women, many of whom later earned advanced science degrees and who vividly remember the mentorship he provided more a decade ago.

Dr. William Campbell, Nobel Laureate, works one-on-one with a Drew undergraduate student on real-world, scientific research as part of Drew's unique RISE Program, through which senior scientists work directly with students in the lab. Click the photo for a full-sized version, then right click to save. (Photo credit: Bill Denison/Drew University)
Dr. William Campbell, Nobel Laureate, works one-on-one with then Drew undergraduate student Manny Gabriel on scientific research as part of Drew’s unique RISE Program. (Photo credit: Bill Denison/Drew University)

Manny Gabriel, C’02, (biology), Fellow in Complex Surgical Oncology at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute: “I had the distinct pleasure of spending two and a half years working with Dr. Campbell while doing research as part of the RISE program. He was instrumental in my senior honors thesis, patiently and enthusiastically teaching me the fundamentals of basic science. I [also] had the unique opportunity of publishing my undergraduate work with Dr. Campbell. This was my first paper ever accepted, shortly after learning that he had been inducted into The National Academy of Sciences. I honestly never thought I would share authorship with a Nobel Laureate!”

Heidi Smith, C’95 (biology), Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Director of Clinical Affairs at MassBiologics: “My Drew classmates have been exchanging excited messages with the news, but what we all keep talking about is how much we still remember Dr. Campbell’s teaching and how grateful we all are that he decided to embark on a second career and to share his love of science with us. I know my choice of career was directly influenced by what we learned from him—from the power of science to address unmet medical needs to remember to stop and to see the art and poetry in science. We hope Dr. Campbell will be able to hear us cheering all the way to Stockholm!”

Sharon Dawso C’94 (biology), Family Practice: “Dr. Campbell’s seminar is one of my fondest memories of Drew. He was humble in describing his work on Ivermectin, and incredibly eloquent as he explained the challenges in providing medicine in an underdeveloped environment.”

Stephen Von Station C’96 (biology), Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard: “I took two memorable classes from Dr. Campbell—his famous parasite class and a history of biomedical science seminar. What I remember most is his kindness, his manner and his awesome dry sense of humor. I am happy that so humble a man, who has done so much for so many, is being recognized for those efforts.”

Tom Pendergast C’00 (biology), Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Georgia: “My favorite part of Dr. Campbell’s seminar was the in-class case studies. We would have studied a particular parasite, and Dr. Campbell would describe an outbreak in a certain place. Our job, as students, was to brainstorm methods for controlling the outbreak, from what we had learned about the biology of the organism and management techniques. Invariably, one of our answers would be greeted with, “Good answer! We tried that, it didn’t work …”

David Cennimo C’97 (biochemistry and biology), Professor of Medicine-Pediatrics Infectious Diseases at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School: “Wow! I took his seminar in parasitology. Such a brilliant and humble man. Think of him every time I write Ivermectin.”

Elena Tartaglia C’05 (biology), Biology Professor: “I took Dr. Campbell’s parasite course over ten years ago and I still remember it. I also remember him showing us poetry while he wrote about flukes and parasite paintings.”

Angella Dorsey-Oresto C’04 (biology), Veterinarian: “I will always remember his poems! I saved a few of them and always stop to read them when I come across them.”

Christopher Blewett C’96 (biology), Partner at Southwest Pulmonary Associates: “Congratulations, Dr. Campbell. I am a proud Drew University graduate and it was a joy to have taken your parasitology course as part of the RISE program. Congratulations again!”

Tim Howes C’08 (biochemistry), DNA Repair Researcher: “Absolutely wearing my Drew University shirt today! So proud of my former prof William Campbell! Another reason to be a proud Drew Alumni.”

Jessica Glickman, C’10 (biological anthropology), Program Analyst at the Baylor College of Medicine’s Children’s Foundation: “His class on parasitology was great, especially his parasite poems. I feel very lucky to have learned from him.”

Lalita Nekkanti, C’11, (biochemistry and molecular biology), Graduate of Tufts School of Dental Medicine: “Congratulations Dr. Campbell. I was so fortunate to have done research with you and to have taken your parasitology course. And your words of wisdom have kept me going after Drew as well.”