Doak S. Campbell
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Doak S. Campbell
Doak S. Campbell
Doak S. Campbell.jpg
3rd President of Florida State College for Women
1st President of Florida State University

Edward Conradi
Albert B. Martin
Personal details
Born(1888-11-16)November 16, 1888
Scott County, Arkansas, United States
DiedMarch 23, 1973(1973-03-23) (aged 84)
Tallahassee, Florida, United States
Spouse(s)Helen Gray Smith (1st), Edna Simmons (2nd)
ChildrenDoak S. Campbell, Jr., and Elizabeth Caroline Campbell
Alma materOuachita Baptist College and George Peabody College for Teachers

Doak Sheridan Campbell was from 1941 to 1957 president of Florida State College for Women and its successor coeducational school, Florida State University. He oversaw the creation of this new university.[1]

Early life

Campbell was born near Waldron, in Scott County, Arkansas, on November 16, 1888, the first of six children born to Edward and Elizabeth Campbell.[2] He was named after his uncle, Samuel Doak.[2]

Upon graduating from high school, he became a licensed teacher, but left after one year to attend Ouachita Baptist College in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He was an intercollegiate debater, orator, and distance runner. He was president of his graduating class and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in music and speech in 1911.[2]

Family life

Doak Campbell was married to Helen Gray Smith from May 28, 1913, until her death in 1938. They had two children: Doak S. Campbell, Jr., (b. February 28, 1915; d. October 1, 2003) and Elizabeth Caroline Campbell (b. November 12, 1920; d. December 3, 2008).

Son Doak Jr. married Mary C. in 1938 (estimated); they had two children (son Doak S. Campbell III and daughter Helen Jo Crawford).[3]

Daughter Caroline married Donald Broermann in 1940; they had three daughters (Mary Noel Chavez, Claire Parz, and Gina Roen).[4]

Doak Campbell was married to Edna Simmons (1897-1978) from 1941 until his death in 1973. During his tenure as president of Florida State University, Edna Campbell fulfilled her responsibilities as the wife of a college president with insight and vigor.[5]


Doak S. Campbell was Superintendant of the Columbus, Arkansas, State High School.[6] In 1916, he began teaching chemistry at Central College for Women, a Baptist school in Conway, Arkansas. In 1920, he became president of the school. While serving in this role, Central College transformed from a failing four-year college to a respectable two-year junior college (defunct since 1947).[]

Later in the 1920s, Campbell began attending George Peabody College for Teachers at Vanderbilt University, receiving a Master's degree in 1928 and a Ph.D. in 1930, at which time he was hired onto the school's faculty. He became dean of the graduate school at Peabody in 1938, and remained in that position until accepting the presidency of Florida State College for Women in September 1941.[2] While at Peabody, Campbell was also a member of the Tennessee State Board of Education and the Board's Middle Tennessee Committee, and came under criticism for his handling of an academic freedom and tenure case in which a tenured teacher had been fired without stated cause.[7]

A great boom in enrollment, driven by World War II veterans and the G.I. Bill, forced Florida to create new facilities for them. As a result, the Legislature changed Florida State College for Women to Florida State University effective May 15, 1947.[2] The change from a women's college to a coeducational university in 1947 was a substantial one in the school's history, bringing a great expansion in staff, enrollment, and plant, and it required great effort from the faculty and Campbell's administration to carry out smoothly.

Campbell served as President of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[6] He also served as President of the Florida Baptist Convention, and was called an "outstanding Baptist layman".[8] He was a sometime Sunday school teacher, and a frequent speaker before groups of religious leaders,[9] such as the West Florida Baptist Pastors Conference.[8]

Position on "racial" integration

During Campbell's presidency, and influenced by the Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954, Florida came under increasing pressure to integrate its university system. At that time, only white students were admitted to Florida State or the University of Florida. Campbell has been described as strongly opposed to the admission of African-American students to Florida State, although Campbell's grandson disputes this.[10][11] According to James Schnur, "Campbell exacted deference from the campus community, suppressed the liberal editorial policy of the semi-weekly Florida Flambeau newspaper, and refused to tolerate any breach of racial segregation. He forced the campus chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) to cancel a regional conference at FSU when he learned that black faculty members from the neighboring Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) planned to attend."[12][13]

At the same time, Tallahassee was racially uneasy because, following the successful Montgomery bus boycott of 1956 and the Supreme Court case Browder v. Gayle, local activists, including some students, boycotted Tallahassee buses seeking to integrate them as well. The Florida Board of Control, which ran the state's universities, warned students not to get involved in "the Tallahassee integration dispute".[14] In an episode that was reported on nationally, Campbell had no hesitation in expelling a graduate student who spoke "urging support of a Negro candidate for the Tallahassee City Commission against the white incumbent", and who invited three African students (not African-American) to an FSU party.[15][16] He required the student newspaper, the Florida Flambeau, to devote less space to integration.[17][18] He went on record denying that he had said that there would eventually be Negro students at FSU.[19][20] He expressed regret that Tallahassee Negroes seeking to end segregation were not meeting in juke joints, because it would have been easy to ban FSU students from them. But they met in churches, leaving Campbell "in a quandary over how to ban student support of integration".[10]

Campbell retired from his position on June 30, 1957,[2][21][22][23] but remained in Tallahassee as president emeritus of Florida State until his death on March 23, 1973.


Campbell supported a sports program at Florida State, and encouraged the construction of a football stadium. The stadium was completed in 1950, and named Doak S. Campbell Stadium in his honor.[24][25]

In 2020 there was a student petition to remove his name from the stadium, because of his alleged racism, and rename it for former coach Bobby Bowden.[11][26] FSU President John Thatcher asked Athletics Director David Coburn "to immediately review this issue and make recommendations to me."[25] As of January 2021 there has been no response.

Archival material

Dr. Campbell donated all his papers, correspondence, etc. to Special Collections, Strozier Library (Florida State's main library), where it may be consulted.


  1. ^ "About Florida State University." The Florida State University. Office of University Communications, 23 Sept. 2009. Web. 6 Dec. 2009. < Archived 2018-01-07 at the Wayback Machine>.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "The Doak Campbell Papers." Florida State University Libraries. Florida State University Libraries, n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2009. <> Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Obituary Central Entry". Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved .
  4. ^ "Widbey Memorial Obituary". Archived from the original on 2011-09-02. Retrieved .
  5. ^ FSU Bio "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 10, 2010. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b "FSU President Campbell Tells Control Board He Will Retire Next June". Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Florida). September 29, 1956. p. 1.
  7. ^ E.C. Kirkland (1942). "Academic Freedom and Tenure: State Teachers College, Murfreesboro, Tennessee". Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors. 28 (5): 662-667. JSTOR 40220396.
  8. ^ a b "Dr. Campbell Speaks in Marianna Monday". Dothan Eagle (Dothan, Alabama). January 15, 1956. p. 7.
  9. ^ "Dr. Campbell to Retire as Head of FSU". Miami Daily News (Miami, Florida). September 28, 1956. p. 7.
  10. ^ a b Waldrox, Martin (January 26, 1957). "FSU Head Is In Quandary Over How To Ban Student Support Of Integration (I)". Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida). p. 1 – via
  11. ^ a b Post, Tom D'Angelo, Palm Beach. "Florida State football: Doak Campbell III defends his grandfather amid petition to change stadium name". Northwest Florida Daily News. Archived from the original on 2020-06-23. Retrieved .
  12. ^ Schnur, James A. (2018). "Cold Warriors in the Hot Sunshine: USF and the Johns Committee". Sunland Tribune. 18. Archived from the original on September 6, 2020. Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ Folsom, Robert (1956-04-02). "How Free Is College Journalism?". The New Republic. pp. 11-12. ISSN 0028-6583.
  14. ^ "FSU, A & M Students Get Bus Warning". Tampa Tribune. January 23, 1957. p. 13. Archived from the original on July 22, 2020. Retrieved 2020 – via
  15. ^ "FSU Bars Student Who Urges Whites to Back Negro for City Post". Tampa Bay Times. 27 January 1957. p. 1. Archived from the original on 22 July 2020. Retrieved 2020 – via
  16. ^ "FSU Ousts Student in Racial Row". Miami News. January 27, 1957. p. 1. Archived from the original on July 21, 2020. Retrieved 2020 – via
  17. ^ Waldrox, Martin (January 26, 1957). "FSU Head Is In Quandary Over How To Ban Student Support Of Integration (II)". Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida). p. 2 – via
  18. ^ "FSU Student Paper Defends Its Stance on Integration". Tampa Tribune. February 23, 1957. p. 5. Archived from the original on July 21, 2020. Retrieved 2020 – via
  19. ^ "FSU Bars Pupil For Race Act". Tampa Tribune. 27 January 1957. p. 1. Archived from the original on 22 July 2020. Retrieved 2020 – via
  20. ^ "FSU bars student for race mixing". Orlando Sentinel. 27 January 1957. p. 3. Archived from the original on 22 July 2020. Retrieved 2020 – via
  21. ^ "New FSU Prexy Approves Seminole Grid Program". The News (Sarasota, Florida). July 12, 1957. Archived from the original on July 22, 2020. Retrieved 2020 – via
  22. ^ "Gifts Heaped upon Retiring FSU President". Orlando Sentinel. 26 May 1957. p. 3. Archived from the original on 22 July 2020. Retrieved 2020 – via
  23. ^ "Retiring Prexy of FSU Honored by High Officials". Miami Herald. 26 May 1957. p. 3. Archived from the original on 22 July 2020. Retrieved 2020 – via
  24. ^ Florida State University Official Athletic Site. "Dr. Doak S. Campbell". Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 2009.
  25. ^ a b "As Doak Campbell Stadium name comes under fire, FSU president says university will study issue". June 22, 2020. Archived from the original on 2020-06-24. Retrieved .
  26. ^ Adelson, Andrea (June 22, 2020). "Florida State to review renaming Doak Campbell Stadium". ESPN. Archived from the original on July 16, 2020. Retrieved 2020.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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