University of Calgary

A dynamic sense of change

UToday HomeApril 23, 2012

By Carly Moran

Professor Emeriti Finley Campbell held three vice-president roles during decades of service to the University of Calgary. Photo credit Riley BrandtProfessor Emeritus Finley Campbell held three vice-president roles during decades of service to the University of Calgary. Photo credit Riley BrandtAs the university prepares to celebrate 50 years as an institution, it’s hard for many of us to imagine how much things have changed. However, this task is not such a stretch for Professor Emeritus Finley Campbell, since he’s been here through it all.

Campbell—originally an associate professor in the University of Alberta’s Department of Geology—played an instrumental role in establishing the University of Alberta at Calgary (UAC) alongside Dr. Tom Oliver, who was head of the Department of Geology at the time. In 1965, Campbell made the move from Edmonton to Calgary as the new head of the Department of Geology at UAC, and never looked back.

Over decades of service to the University of Calgary, Campbell assumed several top administrative positions, including vice-president (capital resources), vice-president (academic) and vice-president (priorities and planning). He worked closely with six of the university’s eight presidents.

“A dynamic sense of change has always been engrained at the University of Calgary due to our relative youth as an institution,” says Campbell. “We have a real opportunity to make a meaningful impact in the global community, and our students and alumni are the future intellectual capital of the world.”

Campbell has been a leader in times of great transformation at the University of Calgary. He helped lobby the provincial government leading to the University of Calgary becoming autonomous, and supported Herb Armstrong—the university’s first president—during the creation of our motto, “I lift up my eyes.” He was also responsible for bringing the 1988 Olympic Village to the university’s campus residences—a task which is unprecedented in the Canadian post-secondary environment.

Campbell believes that the university’s energy, enthusiasm and optimism has endured through the years, and he feels strongly that universities play a critical role in seeking answers and creating solutions to global problems.

“Universities are measured by how they affect positive change,” says Campbell. “I’m proud to have been part of an academic community that uses their combined intellect to build a better future from a global perspective. That’s really what it’s all about.”

What words would Campbell use to describe the University of Calgary after almost 50 years? “Modern, energetic and progressive,” says Campbell.