Retired URI professor honored for roles as teacher, mentor, and friend Narragansett resident given national honor

KINGSTON, R.I. – November 5, 2013 – Norman A. Campbell launched his career as an educator in 1959 as a teaching assistant in pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin and ever since has been influencing people in and out of the classroom.

The University of Rhode Island professor emeritus of pharmacy and 1957 graduate of the Rhode Island College of Pharmacy and Allied Sciences (now URI’s College of Pharmacy) has held leadership positions with numerous pharmaceutical establishments and organizations around the world. While these speak to his professional expertise, Campbell and his students will tell you that their relationships are what made his work so worthwhile.

For his commitment to pharmacy students, his contributions to the profession, and lengthy record of service, the American Pharmacists Association has named Campbell the honorary president. The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) represents more than 62,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and others interested in advancing the profession. Each year, members of the association select a member who has made significant contributions to the association as an honorary president. A Pawtucket native who now lives in Narragansett, Campbell will serve a one-year term that runs from 2013 – 2014.

“Dr. Campbell has been a professional role model for two generations of pharmacists and pharmacy students. His personal integrity, commitment to his colleagues, and dedication to his profession set a high standard for those that follow,” said Paul Larrat, Dean of the College of Pharmacy at URI.

In the classroom, Campbell was practical yet intriguing. “He was never just a lecturer. He always gave us the information but he also showed us how to apply it, told stories, and used examples. He was there for us,” said Celia MacDonnell ‘75, Pharm. D., and Clinical Professor at the College of Pharmacy at URI.

Alumni pointed to Campbell’s willingness to go above and beyond for his students. “Norm was really the first one that opened our eyes, or at least exposed us, to the business and legal side of pharmacy and not just the scientific side,” said Tom Ryan, former chairman, president, and CEO of CVS Caremark and URI 1975 Alumni. “He took his students on various trips to pharmaceutical manufacturers, conventions, and more.”

Campbell was a mentor and a friend.

“I don’t think that there was anyone who didn’t have a personal relationship with him. When you would ask him a question, he wouldn’t just answer your question. He would know you, know things about you, and he would want to help you,” said MacDonnell. “As a lawyer, he has the ability to look at both sides. You’re not going to get ‘here’s the right answer’ from him. Ever. He weighs it out, discusses it, and in the end he helps you evaluate. His ethics are so strong, he will help lead you to the right decision”.

Campbell always had time for everyone because he simply wanted to help. Tony Palmieri ’71 (B.S) and ’73 (M.S), associate scholar of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Florida, is deeply grateful for having Campbell in his life. “He helped me dream, something he and I both do even today. He welcomed me as he did every student, willing to talk, willing to mentor, and most importantly, willing to listen. He never judged me, only listened.”

Subsequently, Palmieri was the man who nominated Campbell to be the honorary president of the national association. “Over the years, Norman has never lost his abilities, nor has he lost his URI roots. My nominating him to be the honorary president of APhA was an obvious and easy thing to do.”

Campbell’s impact on his students never fades. “When I started teaching here 12 years ago, Norm gave me a lot of advice on how to be an effective advisor. He told me to always remember my students know what they’re doing and to lead by example. As an advisor, I should provide them with good advice and guide them towards success. I have really followed what he’s told me in regards to that,” said Brett Feret ‘98, Pharm. D., and Clinical Associate professor at the College of Pharmacy.

Similarly, former chairman, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, Tom Ryan, said he owes much of his success to Campbell. As a student, he needed internship hours and money. Campbell referred him to CVS, the company that Ryan would eventually transform into a national leader. As the former leader of the company, Ryan relied on Campbell’s values and lessons. “The impact he had on me was the fact that it’s important to give back to the profession or university or community. I saw that in Norm Campbell, a lot. That made a huge impression on me.”

But where does this genuine interest in his student’s success come from?

“Dad sees potential in everyone,” said Linda Carver, pharmacy manager for Rite Aid, URI 1985 graduate, and most importantly, daughter of Campbell. “He supported whatever I wanted to do. His only request was that my sister and I get a degree so we could take care of ourselves.”

When reflecting on her childhood, Carver remembers her father being very busy. “He was teaching at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, working at a pharmacy over the weekends, and going to law school at night. But he always made time for us. Family is important to him.”

Campbell’s children spent a great deal of their childhood in the world of pharmacy. “A lot of our family trips growing up were related to pharmacy; APhA conventions, other conventions, road trips, and more. This was a huge advantage. I’ve met so many people that I probably would never have met if it weren’t for Dad. He introduced me not just as his daughter but also as his student. He will connect anyone with who they need to talk to. He wants everybody to succeed and that’s his focus,” said Carver.

Carver’s siblings, Michael Campbell, a 1987 graduate from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and Debra Rugg, a 1982 URI graduate of textiles, did not share the same passion for pharmacy. However, they still valued their time spent in the pharmacy world at these conventions and family trips.

When asked what he views as his greatest career achievement Campbell responded with ease. “Impacting students’ lives and careers. Years later, when your former students talk to you about what they felt your impact was on their careers, you start to recognize that maybe that’s the greatest achievement; being able to impact positively.”

Dr. Campbell uses an automobile assembly line worker as a metaphor for the feelings he had about his students. “When the car’s finished, everyone looks at it and can proudly say ‘I contributed.’ and that’s how I feel about my pharmacy students. I don’t take credit for all of it, but I feel good when I know the job was completed well with my help.”

Being an advisor was one of the most memorable parts of Campbell’s career. “I got to know the ins and outs of how students think, what their goals and objectives were, and even when I didn’t intend it, that knowledge worked its way back into my lectures and programs. I learned from my students as they learned from me.”

Biographical Notes about Dr. Norman A. Campbell:

• President of the R.I. Pharmacists Association

• President of the American Society for Pharmacy Law

• Founding president of the Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Foundation

• Grand Regent of Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity

• 2011 Recipient of the American Society for Pharmacy Law Joseph L. Fink III Founders Award (ASPL’s highest recognition)

• National Executive Councilor and National Treasure of the Rho Chi Pharmaceutical Honor Society

• Fellow of the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education

• Pillar of the URI College of Pharmacy (2008)

• Named a Legend of Kappa Psi at the fraternity’s 2011 international convention

• Author of numerous publications in journals and books

This release was written by Sabrina Galiney, a URI Marketing and Communications intern and a textiles, fashion merchandising and design and public relations major.

NATIONAL HONOR; Norman A. Campbell Professor Emeritus of Pharmacy at the University of Rhode Island, a Pawtucket native and now resident of Narragansett displays a plaque from the American Pharmacists Association. Photograph taken by Michael Salerno.