The University of California, Riverside’s University Laboratory Building is being renamed the “Rochelle and Allison Campbell Hall” in recognition of longtime support from the Campbell family. A ceremony and dedication will be held on Oct. 19.
Rochelle Campbell is the widow of the late Neil Campbell, a well-known biologist and UCR alumnus. Allison Campbell is the couple’s daughter. Rochelle Campbell, who serves on the UCR Foundation Board of Trustees, retired from the San Bernardino Unified School District after working for 30 years as an adult counselor. Allison Campbell, who also serves on the Board of Trustees, works in museum education.
Neil Campbell was named in 2001 a “Distinguished Alumnus,” the highest award given by the UCR Alumni Association, for being an exceptional educator and supporter of science education. He is a co-author of Biology, an introductory text widely used in both high school- and college-level classes. He served as a visiting scholar in UCR's Department of Botany and Plant Sciences and taught at Pomona College, Cornell University, and San Bernardino Valley College.
“Rochelle and Allison Campbell care deeply about science education and the role that hands-on undergraduate research plays in shaping the careers of the next generation of scientists,” said Kathryn Uhrich, dean of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS). “It is inspiring that this building will be named after not one but two women who are passionate about improving the educational experience for science undergraduates, especially for first-generation and underrepresented students.”
“Neil spent his career sharing his passion for biology with undergraduate students, a passion that was indelibly shaped by his time at UCR,” Rochelle Campbell said. “Allison and I are honored to carry on Neil’s legacy by supporting UCR in its efforts to provide the training and tools today's undergraduates need to become tomorrow's great scientists. We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of the faculty and students who study, research, and discover new things in this building.”
Following her husband’s death in 2004, Rochelle Campbell established the “Neil Allison Campbell Endowed Research Award,” which funds internships for CNAS undergraduates.
In 2010, she made a gift to establish the “Neil A. Campbell Learning Laboratory.” Located on the ground floor of Campbell Hall, formerly known as the University Laboratory Building, the space opened in July 2011 and offers freshmen the kind of experimental research experience usually reserved for graduate students or junior or senior undergraduates. The laboratory is home to the Dynamic Genome Program, in which students conduct cutting-edge research while learning core concepts in genomics and molecular biology.
In 2014, the Campbell family established the “Neil and Rochelle Campbell Presidential Chair for Innovation in Science Education.” The chair is held by Susan Wessler, a distinguished professor of genetics and creator of the Dynamic Genome Program.
“Since coming to UCR in 2010, I have had the privilege of working with Rochelle Campbell, and now also with Allison Campbell, to fulfill our shared dream of bringing the excitement of hands-on research to first-year UCR students. It will be a real thrill to walk into a building with the Campbell name over the entrance.” Wessler said.
Reinforcing their partnership, the Campbells and Wessler made an endowed gift in 2018 to support undergraduate students engaged in summer research — an opportunity that is out of reach to many students due to financial barriers. The “Campbell-Wessler Endowed Undergraduate Research Award” will provide several awards to undergraduate researchers affiliated with the Neil A. Campbell Science Learning Laboratory and the Dynamic Genome Program.