By Graciano Clause
Andrew Campbell, member of the York College Class of 1981, has been appointed the next dean of the graduate school at Brown University.
Dr. Campbell, a long-term professor of Medical Science, will begin his term July. 1, succeeding Peter Weber. Campbell said he looks forward to taking on the responsibility that will allow him to work with graduate students in a manner that supports their scholarly work.
“I’m excited and at the same time honored,” Campbell said. “Few people get this great opportunity to shape the educational landscape at an institution like Brown University. It’s also an opportunity to influence the national educational landscape so that we support as many people as possible interested in pursuing advanced educational studies.”
An avid researcher with an investigative focus in Medical Science, Campbell currently serves in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology.
“My focus as a researcher is in studying neglected diseases of neglected people in neglected places,” he said “Although we are becoming more global and our communities more and more diverse, not enough attention is paid to this kind of work. Neglected diseases eventually become ‘new’ diseases to us because we just haven’t given them the attention we should have in the past. They aren’t really new, they’ve been there all along but just neglected.
“Eventually they will affect us all,” he said. “One good example is the Zika virus named after the Zika forest in Uganda, Africa, which has been around for a while, but suddenly appears new to us.”
Earning his bachelor’s degree at York, part of the City University of New York, and his doctorate in biology from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1987 Campbell shared his more memorable experiences on the Jamaica campus.
“York was a wonderful place for me, It was a place where I grew academically and where professors gave me the attention that I needed,” Campbell said. “Faculty like Prof. Leslie Lewis, Jack Schlein and Paul Young. My greatest memories were the friends that I made. Three in particular were Drs. Deborah Persaud, Janet Rollins and Robert Thomas, who I am still friends with. The friends you make in college last a lifetime!”
Growing up not far from York’s campus, Campbell gives back to his alma mater by serving on the college’s foundation and recruiting biology students into his program at Brown University.
“It’s a part of being civic-minded and living a life of purposeful existence,” he said. “I benefited immensely from my time at York and think now that there are many more students at York just like me who just need an opportunity. I see where I am, look back and ask how can I make things easier for others.”
His initiative for students coming from underrepresented groups is to ensure that they have equal access to opportunities that can demonstrate their intellectual gifts.
“If you are still in training, think about what you really want to do and what makes you happy,” he said. “Take care of those things first and everything else will fall in place. Sometimes hardship can motivate people to do things for the wrong reasons. Be true to yourself.”