Wesley Judkins Campbell, a senior at Carolina, is one of 43 U.S. college students to win 2006 Marshall Scholarships funded by the British government.
Schools nationwide had nominated 968 candidates for the prestigious awards, worth more than $70,000 each. The scholarships offer outstanding young Americans two to three years of graduate study, or pursuit of a second undergraduate degree, at any university in the United Kingdom.
Campbell will use the scholarship to earn two master’s degrees, in international relations and political theory, at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He plans to attend law school afterward, then work for a governmental organization in the area of international law.
“Eventually, I would like to enter politics, where I hope to make a positive difference in the lives of people in this country and throughout the world,” Campbell said.
English Professor George Lensing, who directs the UNC Office of Distinguished Scholarships, called Campbell a superb choice for the Marshall, who will represent his country and university admirably.
“Jud Campbell is one of those rare undergraduates who has already established impressive credentials – as a published scholar, a business entrepreneur, a teaching assistant and a strong advocate for political rights,” Lensing said. “He wears his gifts with a winning modesty – always choosing his words carefully and speaking thoughtfully.”
The son of Greg ’74 and Anne Campbell of Blacksburg, Va., Campbell won a Centre W. Holmberg Jr. Carolina Scholarship to attend UNC, a merit award of $15,000 a year for four years that is designed to attract academically talented students to Carolina.
A mathematics and political science double major, Campbell has a 3.96 grade-point average. He has been inducted into honor fraternities for both majors and Phi Beta Kappa.
The British parliament founded the Marshall Scholarships in 1953 to express the gratitude of the British people to Americans for the Marshall Plan, a program of U.S. aid that helped rebuild Europe after World War II.
The scholarships also are intended to bring intellectually distinguished young Americans to United Kingdom universities, enable them to gain an understanding of British life and encourage them to be ambassadors to the United Kingdom and establish long-lasting personal ties with its people.
UNC students won Marshall Scholarships for five years in a row from 1992-96, with two Carolina winners in 1995. This year, only one other North Carolina school – Wake Forest University – has a Marshall recipient.
Campbell was one of five winners chosen among 20 interviewed for the Marshall Scholarships region covering Alabama, the Carolinas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
At UNC, Campbell said, he has worked to expand his intellect and knowledge by taking courses in a broad range of subjects, in addition to those required for graduation and his majors.
Campbell’s research on his family’s genealogy, reported in his article last year in the journal Vermont Genealogy, fueled his interest in history and gave him marketable skills. He worked in a law firm on a case requiring genealogical expertise and started a business through which he researches clients’ family histories.
“While working for a client my freshman year, I discovered Charles Gerrard, a businessman from Eastern North Carolina who donated property to The University of North Carolina in 1797,” Campbell said.
Campbell delved into the story of the Revolutionary War soldier, for whom UNC’s Gerrard Hall is named, and penned an article on his life. It has been accepted for publication in the North Carolina Historical Review next July.
Last summer, Campbell won a fellowship through the UNC Office of Undergraduate Research and a grant from the University Center for International Studies for a similar project about James Cole Mountflorence, one of Gerrard’s contemporaries and a diplomat in Paris during the French Revolution.
Campbell traveled to Nashville, Raleigh, Washington, D.C., Boston, Belfast, London and Paris, researching Mountflorence’s life. Now he’s preparing an article for publication.
“Like the Gerrard research, this manuscript uses a significant individual to tell the larger story of how politics shaped the early republic,” Campbell said.
“I believe that a respect for and command of history is integral to a career of public service,” he said. “History is invaluable in understanding our place in the world, who we are today, and where we can and ought to go tomorrow.”
A member of the Student Attorney General’s staff, Campbell is a defense counsel for students accused of violations of the UNC honor code. He has tutored children at a local housing project all four years at UNC and tutored third-graders in math.
Campbell calls the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians the most important conflict in today’s world. He credits an honors seminar taught by Sarah Shields, UNC associate professor of history, for his awareness and his research on failed negotiations at Camp David in 2000. Campbell is writing an honors thesis on Israeli policy during those talks.
He has played club tennis all four years at Carolina and is club president this year. Golf and carpentry are favorite hobbies. Campbell has built several pieces of Queen Anne-style furniture.
Long an active member of Blacksburg Presbyterian Church, Campbell has researched historical and contemporary debates on Jesus’ humanity and divinity.
“For me, Christianity is not so much a set of rules or doctrines as it is a way of living – a recognition of love and a desire to proliferate (with humility) that love throughout the world,” he said. “In this regard, Christianity implants in me a sense of purpose and exhorts me to a life of public service and a career of helping others.”