Campbell, Prince Lucien

From Lane Co Oregon

Prince Lucien Campbell (1861-1925) could rightfully be considered the FDR of the University of Oregon. The institution’s fourth president, he served for twenty-three years, from 1902 until his death, taking the UO from the dark hours of an uncertain future to the largest institution of higher learning in the state. “He came to Oregon when it was a college with a preparatory department,” said UO Regent Henry McKinney. “He left it a university.”

His achievements and recognitions are too numerous to be listed, but his legacy included two solid funding programs: the property millage tax, in which a certain percent of all state property taxes go to the university, and the gift campaign — which began a program of private contributions that continue to this day. A man unanimously respected for his integrity, fair-mindedness and dedication, he was that rare kind of person who was apparently perfectly matched to his job. “I get so much pleasure out of the work that I do,” he said, “that I have a kind of ‘sneaking’ feeling about accepting a salary for doing it.”

He made time for other pursuits as well, believing strongly in physical as well as intellectual exercise. He was an avid mountain climber who reached the summit of many Cascade peaks — including Mt. Rainier when he was fifty-seven years old. He was also a member of the first party to spend a night on Mt. Hood, and published his account in Oregon Monthly magazine in 1907. After making camp in a snow bank for shelter from the terrible wind, he wrote, they prepared to light a bright fire and set off rockets as a signal to people waiting in the world below. “Anxious eyes we knew were watching from the foot of the mountain, and we hoped that many were keeping a lookout from Portland and the valley towns,” But the wind kept them from so much as lighting a match, until finally they decided to dig a hole in the snow and fill it with kerosene-saturated paper and gunpowder. “The powder was divided and the experiment tried. To our great joy the paper caught, the powder flashed up with a blinding light into the first signal fire ever burned on the top of Hood. “A second fire was lighted soon after,” he continued, “and then the rockets were sent up, breasting the wind beautifully and leaving a glowing trail of sparks behind.”

His wife was Susan Campbell.

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