Academic journal article Washington and Lee Law Review

A Tribute to Edmund Douglas Campbell

Academic journal article Washington and Lee Law Review

A Tribute to Edmund Douglas Campbell

Article excerpt

We may be in the latter days of this particular civilization whose very fabric seems to be tearing apart. But if we should have dark days ahead, we must remember the motto of the Christopher Society, "It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness."

- Edmund Campbell, Musings of a 95 Year Old

In recognition of his contributions to Washington and Lee University, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the practice of law, and society, the Editors of the Washington and Lee Law Review respectfully dedicate this issue to Edmund Douglas Campbell. Although these writings cannot convey the full extent of Mr. Campbell's many achievements, we hope that they will illustrate how many lives he touched in his ninety-six years.

Barry Sullivan*

I am pleased to join the Editors of the Washington and Lee Law Review in paying tribute to the memory of Edmund Douglas Campbell. It is most appropriate that the Editors should note the passing of Ed Campbell. Indeed, it is difficult for me to imagine anyone with a better claim to be remembered in the pages of this law review. The closeness and duration of Ed Campbell's connections with this University are themselves noteworthy, to say nothing of the extent to which Ed Campbell's character and career epitomize both the best values of the University and the finest traditions of the bar.

Ed Campbell was born on the Front Campus in 1899, the son and grandson of Washington and Lee professors. His grandfather was one of the professors who welcomed General Robert E. Lee to the campus in 1865; his father was a young boy during General Lee's presidency and often reminisced in later life about his acquaintance with the general. Ed Campbell's father served as Dean of the College; his uncle was Treasurer of the University. Ed was a graduate of both the College and the Law School, and he excelled in both places. He was valedictorian of the undergraduate class of 1918 and graduated at the top of his law school class in 1922. Most important, Ed Campbell lived a long and productive life that gave substance and particularity to the values that this University holds sacred. Ed Campbell's life was one of honor, civility, and dedication to community. It was marked by a deep concern for the public interest and the rights of others, a courageous dedication to what he deemed essential to the cause of justice, an abiding concern for the oppressed and the disadvantaged, and an unwavering commitment to the highest standards of personal integrity and professional responsibility. Throughout his life, Ed Campbell worked to build communities that were true, just, and inclusive. His successes advanced both the common good and the liberty and dignity of the individual.

There are many reasons for honoring Ed Campbell, but the congruence between Ed Campbell's life and the central values of our University makes it especially appropriate that the Law Review should recall and memorialize his character, career, and achievements. The ethos of Washington and Lee often is explained in terms of a community that does not in any degree tolerate lying, cheating, or stealing. In a sense, of course, that is correct. The University's Honor System has no tolerance for such acts, which are cause for expulsion from our community. In another sense, however, that description is too narrow. The genius of our ethos is not to lay down prohibitions, but to articulate a set of positive values by which we give definition to our community and ourselves. General Lee was able to counsel against "needless rules" because he believed that there was but one rule, that each student was to be a gentleman. What General Lee had in mind was not simply the avoidance of bad acts, but the affirmative cultivation of virtue. A person who esteems honor, civility, and community necessarily must be concerned with the well-being of others, and with the health of the community to which he or she belongs. A person of honor cannot be indifferent to the claims of justice. …

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