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Former MJF chair wins high honor

Campbell recognized for service, devotion to students

Richard Campbell, former chair of the Department of Media, Journalism and Film (MJF), will be honored with the Benjamin Harrison Medallion next Tuesday, March 19.

The Benjamin Harrison Medallion -- named for Miami alum and former U.S. President Benjamin Harrison -- is an honor awarded to a Miami faculty member for their contributions to teaching, research and service.

More than fifteen colleagues, friends and former students sent in support for Campbell's nomination.

"I think everybody who contributed to that letter wanted to make sure that he was properly recognized for everything that he's done, and that's a broad range of things -- for the department, for students, for the university's sort of standing as a whole and then for all of the students he's impacted through the publication of his textbook," said James Tobin, fellow professor and longtime friend of Campbell.

Campbell earned a bachelor's degree in English at Marquette University. He taught high school English and journalism in Milwaukee for five years before attending the University of Wisconsin for a master's in mass communication. He then went on to earn his Ph.D. in radio, television and film from Northwestern University.

Campbell taught at the University of Michigan and Middle Tennessee State University. He authored "Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication," which is currently in its 12th edition and remains a leading textbook for media studies.

He was asked to join Miami's faculty in 2004 with the intention of restructuring the communications department. Since then, Campbell has helped build it from a single office in Bachelor Hall to the MJF department in its own building Williams Hall.

He helped launch the Inside Hollywood program in 2013, which subsequently led to other, similar study away programs. These programs, modeled after the long-running Inside Washington program, give students the opportunity to make connections and experience media industries first-hand. In recent years, Campbell has been invested in Report for Ohio, an initiative to put young journalists in underreported areas.

"It's a big career, it really is, and he is such an unassuming guy that we tend to overlook what a big imprint he has made," Tobin said. "[The award] seemed like the fitting conclusion to his career."

Campbell stepped down as MJF chair at the end of last school year and plans to retire this coming June.

Britton Perelman, a young alum and one of Campbell's former students, said it's not a surprise that Campbell received this awarded.

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"Dr. Campbell is the most kind-hearted, generous and thoughtful professor at Miami," she said. "He immediately took me under his wing and helped me grow into the person I am today. Without him, I don't know where I would be."

This sentiment was echoed by many in a compilation video screened at a celebration held when Campbell stepped down as chair, as well as in written contributions to his nomination.

"He could've been a terrific journalist, and a journalist in a way is a teacher, but he certainly found his natural calling when he set out to be a scholar, therefore both a teacher and a writer," Tobin said.

Campbell's family, even his son Chris, who lives in Michigan, plans to attend the awards reception.

"I'm just so thrilled for him because he's not a person who ever asks for recognition," Chris Campbell said. "I'm just so excited for this time in his life where -- I think the idea of not asking for recognition and then getting it, that's one of the most satisfying things I can imagine."