Born and raised in suburban Ohio, David Campbell followed his father and grandfather’s interest in telecommunication. As a child, he enjoyed learning about new technologies as they came on the market. He also had a love for drama and performance. During his years at Galion High School, Campbell acted, sang, and realized his passion for the field of speech.
In 1959, Campbell enrolled at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. It was there where he discovered his true passion: television production. His efforts were quickly recognized by the faculty, who invited Campbell to help begin the campus’ first closed-circuit television broadcasts. All the while, Campbell continued to study speech and acting. Eventually, he decided to shift his efforts from performance to education. By the time he completed the baccalaureate degree in 1964, he had dual majored in speech and English and was certified to teach both subjects in Ohio.
The Die was Cast
Campbell began his career as a speech teacher at Linden-McKinley High School, located in Columbus, Ohio. From the very beginning, Campbell strived to give his students the most practical and professionally-oriented education that he could. Students in his radio and television course applied their training in an on-air situation when Campbell partnered with WCBE 90.5, an educational radio station in Columbus. He also taught literature. Going against school board policy, he integrated Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn into his English courses. Though he only spent one year in Columbus, Campbell’s teaching paradigm was set: professional training, paired with exposure to quality examples of literature, and later, media.
Finding a Niche
After teaching at his alma mater, Galion High School, for two years, Campbell decided to return to school. He quickly earned his graduate degree from Indiana University, focusing on audio-visual communication. He continued to study television, but also included photography and instructional design into his repertoire. At the same time that Campbell was finishing his master’s degree, Clarion State College in Pennsylvania was expanding their communication offerings to include television production. Campbell was selected to lead this new effort. He spent two years at Clarion where he taught television production and audio-visual media for teacher education majors.
A Golden Opportunity
In late 1970, East Stroudsburg State College was in a similar situation. A new communications center had just been built, and they were in need of an instructor who could teach television production. Campbell transferred from Clarion to East Stroudsburg where he was faced with the task of co-founding a department, outfitting the new television studios, writing and launching new courses, and offering media services to the campus.
Expecting Nothing but the Best
The standards of excellence were kept high in Campbell’s classes. His students were expected to produce professional quality work for real clients and causes. In television production class, his students produced media for the local hospital network, the Pocono Mountains Chamber of Commerce, the American Heart Association, and many other clients and groups. He, too, would pick up a camera or sit at the switcher, as he wanted to create work for his students to critique. Television remained his teaching forte throughout his career at East Stroudsburg. He also taught many courses in educational communication and photography over the years.
Nothing Good Comes Easy
For as many victories as Campbell made during his career, he had his share of battles to fight. In 1983, when his advanced television production class produced a weekly magazine show promoting the campus, the issue of intellectual property and gatekeeping came into play. Certain administrators would not let the tape be broadcast, thus leading to a heated public dispute between the college (soon to be University) and Campbell.
Eventually, after agreeing to place a copyright notice on the end of the tape, as well as other minor concessions, “University Magazine” made it to cable.
The Sky is the Limit
Campbell began his ten year stint as department chair in 1987. Under his leadership, the department of Media Communication and Technology saw full integration of computers into the curriculum, new courses in digital media, a new minor, and grant funding for a new computer laboratory. Teaching, however, did not fall by the wayside. His classes remained busy with production, producing two weekly shows and organizing live telethons for local nonprofit groups. He even developed a scholarship in his own name to reward students for superior academic achievement.
Just before retiring, he received the University’s highest honor: The Great Teacher Award.
Following his retirement in 2000, Campbell relocated to Naples, Florida. He lived life to the fullest, continuing to take pictures (digitally, of course!) and keeping up with new technological developments. He put his photography to the task of helping animals in local shelters find homes.
He died on September 3, 2015, at the age of seventy-three.