MCCC President Emeritus Ronald Campbell turns 99

Ronald Campbell, MCCC’s first president, celebrated his 99th birthday on campus. 

Family, friends and former colleagues of Campbell’s were invited to a special reception at the La-Z-Boy Center atrium on March 12, his birthday.

President Emeritus Ronald Campbell celebrates his 99th birthday on March 12 in the La-Z-Boy Center Atrium. (Photos by Reese Bowling.)

Campbell attended the celebration with his son, Kevin, and daughter-in-law, Alice. They traveled from Illinois. 

President Kojo Quartey welcomed guests before inviting everyone to sing “Happy Birthday.”

Looking at the candles on his cake, Campbell informed the crowd he was “66, not 99.”

After two attempts to blow out the flames, he looked at his guests and smiled.

“Thank you all for coming,” he said.

Quartey said Campbell was 39 when he assumed the role of president. At the time, the area was a cornfield and plans were being made to build the 210-acre campus.

MCCC opened on June 29, 1964, with Campbell at the helm. He retired in 1985 and is the college’s longest serving president to date.

President Emeritus Ronald Campbell shakes hands with Mark Bergmooser, assistant professor of communication, at his birthday celebration on March 12.

“Seeing the college and all of the changes is very gratifying,” he said. “When we started, we weren’t thinking in the menu of growth. We were hoping we’d get a good start with good buildings, a good staff and hopefully, we’d be successful.”

The nonagenarian (a term for someone aged 90-99) shared the secret to his longevity.

“I didn’t drink or smoke,” Campbell said. “Even while I was in the service. It’s something I wasn’t interested in. I think that may have helped.” 

Following the reception, Campbell and his family attended the Foundation at MCCC’s scholarship dinner at the H Building.