Lincoln College renames
environmental education center in honor of Dr. G. Dennis Campbell
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[April 24, 2017]
- On Saturday, though Mother Nature was less than cooperative,
several dozen people arrived to celebrate Earth Day and a notable
Lincoln College Professor at the LC Creekside Outdoor Environmental
As the day began, the focus fell on Dr. G. Dennis Campbell, as the
center was renamed in his honor. Creekside will now be known as the
Dr. G. Dennis Campbell Creekside Outdoor Center for Environmental
Education at Lincoln College. Though it is expected many will still
refer to the area north of Lincoln along Sugar Creek simply as “Creekside.”
The day began with a speech delivered by LC President, Dr. David
Gerlach, under the roof of the Dr. G. Dennis Campbell Pavilion.
Gerlach welcomed guests, then thanked many folks who had come out to
support Dr. Campbell and the college in the renaming of the center.
He introduced his wife Lisa, whom he said was a strong and dedicated
supporter and leader at the college, who had spent a good deal of
time working to make this day successful.
Gerlach also introduced former LC presidents on hand, Ron Schilling
and John Blackburn. Gerlach noted that when Creekside first began,
it was under the leadership of President Schilling. He said Campbell
had brought the idea to Schilling and together the two had made it
work. Then he noted that it was under the leadership of Blackburn
that the environmental center was opened.
Though work is ongoing at the center, Gerlach noted that it was
Schilling and Blackburn who had done the hard work of getting the
project off the ground and bringing it to reality for college
students as well as the community.
Gerlach said he was very proud of the center and fully realized that
it was his predecessors who had done the really hard work, making
days like this easy for the existing president.
Gerlach also noted early on that the assembly was taking place in
the Campbell Pavilion. He said that a few years ago, when Dr.
Campbell announced that he was ready to retire from his position at
LC, there was a consensus of the board of trustees that no one
wanted Campbell to retire and leave the area in search of other
scientific discoveries, so they named the pavilion after the him in
2013, urging him to stay.
Gerlach said that on this day the entire center was being named for
Campbell in appreciation of the professor’s vision and dedication.
He noted that though Campbell is now retired, he spends countless
hours at the center, and remains dedicated to the success of the
Gerlach also noted that Campbell still has vision for what the
center can evolve into, including the addition of a conference and
education center. He joked that all they needed was money, so if
anyone felt inclined to write a check it would be happily accepted.
Gerlach said the new building Campbell would like to see would be a
center for learning and hosting meetings, with climate control, so
the group standing there on Saturday would instead be seated inside
a nice comfortable facility.
Gerlach also went on to talk about how Campbell had developed the
property into the environmental center in a very fugal manner, and
how today the annual budget for upkeep of the property is only
Bob Neal, representing the LC Board of Trustees, joined Dr. Campbell
in unveiling the new signage for the center.
Campbell then humbly addressed the group saying that he was a bit
embarrassed by this honor because the center was the work of many
people, all of whom deserved to have their name on the sign instead
Campbell acknowledged the support of his wife, Christine, and
family, and noted his grandchildren who were in attendance. He said
that having the center was important for them, and keeping it moving
forward was important as well. Campbell went on to say that his
family was larger than those he had named, but that it also included
his Lincoln College family, and the community was also his family,
and they all shared in the ownership of the center.
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He said with humor, “This is your property. I would only say
don’t sell it.”
He also acknowledged the younger professor who is now
teaching in his place at LC. He said that Dr. Julia Ossler was a new
generation with new ideas and that she would incorporate modern
technology in to the study of science. He joked that he was not a
technology person, and that the new teacher would bring the program
into the 21st Century.
Both Gerlach and Campbell spoke of the many features of Creekside
including things recently added, such as the bee apiary, the
extension of the boardwalk and the log cabin.
Campbell said that he wanted to remain a part of the center, and
noted that someday, people would talk about the “old guy” that hangs
out in the woods at the center, and that would be him.
Campbell invited everyone to take advantage of the many displays
that were set up for Earth Day and to also go on one of the three guided tours
that would go into the woods during the day.