Centre News

Getting to know…the library’s Stan Campbell


December 23, 2010
Campbell Stan Campbell, Director of Library Services

Campbell “When I have the opportunity, I always tell students to remember
where they are and to keep in mind that they’re now part of a
living history that’s very nearly 200 years old,” Campbell says.
“I’m not sure what impact that has on any 18-year-old. I
probably would’ve ignored it myself at that age, but it doesn’t
hurt anyone to hear it.”
1. Position at Centre?
Director of Library Services

2. Where did you grow up (and describe the place in one phrase or sentence)?
Although my family had a farm in Eastern Kentucky, I spent most of my childhood in the east end of Dayton, Ohio, a working class neighborhood which, in those days, still had family run markets, butcher shops, lunch counters and funky old taverns run by guys named Smitty and Hobabe. Actually, he was called “The Hobabe.” I never knew why.

3. What are your hobbies?
Is reading a hobby? I read a lot of biography and film history, and I watch old movies. Some people say “cinema.” They look like movies to me.

4. What is your dream vacation?
Pretty simple—sitting at the seaside Lemon Bar in Atlantic Beach with my wife, Donna

5. Favorite artist and/or work of art?
I don’t have just one, but I like the work of John Ford very much. If I had to choose one film, it might be Ford’s They Were Expendable.

6. Favorite novel or poem?
Again, I really can’t single out just one, but I like Cormac McCarthy’s Suttree. Most people know McCarthy for The Road, but I think Suttree is his best novel.

7. Favorite sport (to watch or play)?
I never could judge a fly ball, but I love baseball. Whatever happened to Vinegar Bend Mizell?

8. Favorite TV show?
Deadwood. I was also very fond of The Howdy Doody Show.

9. Favorite album?
Either The Heart of Saturday Night by Tom Waits or The Band's second record. Showing my age, there.

10. Favorite holiday?
Christmas. Specifically, Christmas 1957.

11. Favorite food?
The bread and pastry my grandmother used to make.

12. Most prized possession?
I guess I don’t think in those terms, but I attach great sentimental value to my grandfather’s gold tie clasp, which I still wear. It’s a small thing, but I like that he wore it and that it’s been passed down to me. I also have his S&W .38 Special, although I don’t wear it.

13. Three people, living or deceased, who you’d invite to the same dinner party?
Preston Sturges, Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock, although I’d be a disaster at planning a dinner party.

14. Favorite aspect of your job?
Doherty Library is part of a tradition of libraries at Centre College dating back 188 years. I like being part of something with a substantial history. I also like to think that I’ve played some small role in shaping and developing our current library.

15. Most memorable experience of your youth?
Almost exactly 50 years ago, our sixth grade teacher took us out of class and marched us down to Springfield Street in Dayton, Ohio, where we watched as presidential hopeful Senator John F. Kennedy’s motorcade slowly drove past a thin crowd of factory workers and school children. He waved to everyone, sitting on top of the back seat of a convertible, looking like no one we had ever seen in real life. It was as if Cary Grant had appeared magically on the streets of the east side of Dayton. Certainly, we had never seen anyone wearing a suit like that outside of the movies. He shook hands with people and patted some of the children’s shoulders and mussed their hair. And then he was gone, down that dirty old street. We stood there, watching the motorcade slowly disappear, not wanting to go back to school.

16. What would you be doing if you weren't working at Centre?
I consider myself very lucky to have landed at Centre just when I did. If I weren’t here, I might’ve gone looking for a Special Library, like a film archive. That would have taken a bit of luck as well.

17. Educational experience that's been most helpful to you?
It’s very difficult to single out just one, but most recently, I was involved in bringing Wendell Berry to the Centre College campus, and that was a remarkable experience. It was deeply gratifying.

18. Fictional character in whose shoes you’d love to spend a day?
Huckleberry Finn, if he wore shoes, that is.

19. Favorite place on campus (and why)?
I like the Thomas A. Spragens Special Collections and Rare Book Room. Here, we preserve the printed word as well as Centre’s history. I think any visitor to this room quickly becomes aware of the unique quality of the collection and the room.

20. Advice you'd give to a first-year college student to make success more likely?
When I have the opportunity, I always tell students to remember where they are and to keep in mind that they’re now part of a living history that’s very nearly 200 years old. I’m not sure what impact that has on any 18-year-old. I probably would’ve ignored it myself at that age, but it doesn’t hurt anyone to hear it. My hope is that students would see value in belonging to or being part of something larger than themselves. I know I certainly do.

Have comments, suggestions, or story ideas? E-mail Leigh Cocanougher with your feedback.



Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Forbes magazine ranks Centre 24th among all the nation's colleges and universities and No. 1 among all institutions of higher education in the South. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices.
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