Honoring Rich Campbell: 2019 Christi Matri Award Recipient
Written by retired SJND Principal Anthony Aiello
The 2019 Christi Matri Award for Service to SJND honors Rich Campbell for his invaluable contributions to Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School over four decades.
Rich’s association with the high school community began in 1980 when he and his late wife, Josephine enrolled their oldest son, Rich, Jr. for his freshman year. A few years later, their twin sons, Matthew and John, enrolled. From the beginning, Rich and Jo became quite active in the school’s various activities. This included support of the basketball program under legendary coach, Frank LaPorte. Rich was recognized by the school in 1996 when he was inducted into the inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame for his dedicated support of the athletic program.
When Saint Joseph High School and Notre Dame High School merged in 1985, Rich served as the first president of the new SJND Board of Trustees. During that time, Rich assisted the Advancement office in creating the school’s first endowment fund, and in 2001, he co-chaired the high school’s first capital campaign - Let Every Student Soar - with the late Jim Kelly, Sr. The $9 million raised provided for the construction of a new music center, library, and state-of-the-art science and athletic complex. When SJND became the beneficiary of a large bequest by Arthur Jawad, Sr. in 2001, Rich and others served on the founding Jawad Education Fund (JEF) Board of Directors, which awards tuition assistance to deserving, qualified families, and contributes to the improvement of the academic program and physical facilities at SJND. As he did with the formation of the inaugural Board, Rich brings a special insight and wisdom in managing meetings and including all participants in making informed decisions to benefit the high school. He continues to serve on the JEF Board of Directors today.
Rich Campbell’s dedication to Catholic education is a result of his own educational background, which includes earning a law degree from Villanova University in Pennsylvania. In 2008, the Diocese of Oakland School Department recognized Rich’s many contributions to Catholic schools, parishes, and the Diocese when the department awarded Rich the Seton Award, named for Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton. Mother, now St. Elizabeth Seton, opened the first Catholic school in the United States in Maryland in 1810. Rich said at the time of this honor, “I loved what [Catholic education] did for both me and those around me. A Catholic education gives a person a reference point from which to make judgment, and to function well in society.”
SJND is also honored to share that Rich and his wife, Patricia, have included SJND in their estate plan. Rich states, “Saint Joseph Notre Dame has meant so much to our entire family. Three Campbell sons received first-rate educations and exceptional values that have led to satisfying careers and meaningful lives. All of this could not have happened without the spiritual and financial support of those who came before them. Great schools do not exist successfully for almost 140 years without active, connected alumni and a community which provide volunteer time and financial assistance... Patricia and I have chosen to help assure the success of future SJND students with a major gift in our will/trust to the SJND Endowment.”
With gratitude, congratulations, Rich, on being honored with the Christi Matri Award!