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College of Business announces its first endowed professorship in finance

By Kelsey West, Business Marketing Director | December 15, 2020

POCATELLO – The Idaho State University College of Business has announced its first endowed professorship in finance due to the generous support of alumni Gary and Susan Campbell.

College of Business announces its first endowed professorship in finance
Gary and Susan Campbell.

The Dr. Bill Phillips Memorial Endowed Professorship in Finance was established in honor of the former Idaho State professor and finance department chair and is the second endowed professorship in the College of Business. In addition to the professorship, the Campbells have founded the Gary D. and Susan G. Campbell Scholarship Endowment to benefit students majoring in finance.

The endowed professorship will serve as a means of attracting and retaining finance professors who demonstrate similar qualities to those that impacted Phillips’s students. Gary noted that recipients should show “exemplary teaching and outreach skills [and must] truly care about retaining, guiding and nurturing students by preparing them for life after graduation, as well as striving for and assisting with 100 percent career placement.”    

For Gary Campbell, a 1972 graduate of finance, and many other finance students at Idaho State, Phillips left a profound impact on his life and career through his dedication to the success of his students.

“Dr. Phillips remains the very cornerstone of my career and our sustained ability to gift, including to Idaho State, especially the College of Business,” Campbell said.

Phillips was a “self-made successful businessman” and a lover of baseball and fishing. Despite owning a multi-branch investment firm in Chicago, Phillips dreamed of becoming a university professor. To accomplish this, he sold his firm and enrolled in a master’s and doctoral finance program at the University of Nebraska, later accepting a position at Idaho State.

 “Dr. Phillips taught far more than upper division finance,” Gary said. “His lectures cited business experiences and real-world application.”

 The most impactful of Phillips’ influence came from various Sunday evening gatherings where Phillips opened his home to finance seniors for further preparation.

 “The [Phillips’] family dining room became the setting for etiquette lessons; the basement a film studio for practice interviews,” Gary said.

Students were given the choice of discussion topics covering all variety of things from family finance, insurance, personal investments and dressing for career success on a limited budget.

“Dr. Phillips’s assessments were candid, well intentioned and included the legendary comment to a fellow classmate, ‘Get a haircut! You look like a chrysanthemum,’” Gary said.

Overall, Phillips served as much more than just a professor to his students. He sought to personally ensure their success through professional and personal development. In addition to “smoothing out the rough edges,” Phillips provided recommendation letters for students, coordinated internships and sought out career opportunities to ensure his students got the best start in life once graduating.

 “Dr. Phillips led by example,” Gary said. “[He taught us to] savor life, be confident yet humble, be content, respectful and regardless of income or station, ‘pay it forward’ through benevolence to those less fortunate.”

Gary said that he and Susan chose to establish this professorship and scholarship to “pay it forward and ensure that other finance students have exposure to, ideally, real world teachings, applications, experiences and opportunity to similarly experience all that Idaho State has to offer and to have better lives which then, hopefully, enhances legacy gifting to Idaho State well into the future.”

Gary first honored Phillips' work in 2004 when he established the Dr. Phillips Endowment for Professional Development, which has assisted hundreds of Idaho State students throughout the University with career development. 

“We view education as an investment, not an expense,” said the Campbells. “Idaho State University and the College of Business offered numerous classroom and extra-curricular opportunities for us to experience, learn, practice, be encouraged as well as to grow personally and have the tools necessary to have successful professional careers. Idaho State is our North Star. Why? Our careers and community involvement are the direct result of our Idaho State and College of Business experiences. It is our privilege to continue donating time and treasure so that others may experience opportunities to learn, grow, prosper and give back to their communities.”

"Gary and Susan Campbell have made a transformational gift that will positively impact our finance program for generations to come,” said Shane Hunt, College of Business dean. “All of us in the Idaho State University College of Business are forever thankful for their extraordinary support in establishing the Dr. Bill Phillips Endowed Professorship in Finance and the new Gary D. and Susan G. Campbell Scholarship Endowment."

Gary started his relationship with Idaho State after graduating from Highland High School in Pocatello. He joined the College of Business at the beginning of his sophomore year at Idaho State and joined the varsity swim team, earning an athletic scholarship. Gary was actively involved on campus including his membership with the business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi.

After graduating, he began what would become a highly successful career in finance. After 11 years in banking, he became an executive at a family office in Texas where he was eventually promoted to chief investment officer. Gary lived in Houston, Texas for 30 years where he developed expertise in banking, capital markets, real estate equity and debt placement, wealth management and investments. Over the years, Gary has either been a guest speaker or panelist before several city, state and national organizations including a New York stock exchange committee and congressional subcommittees. He served numerous board directorships with Texas banks, insurance companies, nonprofits and was also the president of Bellman Interests.

Susan, a Pocatello native, graduated from Pocatello High School and also attended Idaho State. As a finance major, she participated in a variety of student organizations including the Mortar Board Honor Society and Alpha Kappa Psi. In 1981, she was honored as the Wall Street Journal Business Student of the Year at the College of Business, later graduating with honors. Once graduating, Susan began her nearly 40-year career in commercial banking. Susan has been recognized on several occasions for being among top producing employees nationally. Throughout the years, Susan has worked in a variety of commercial banking positions and is currently a Senior Vice President of a northern California bank.   

Over the past 26 years, Gary has continually served the University as a member and President of the Alumni Board of Directors, liaison to the Foundation’s 2000 Capital Campaign, then simultaneously on the College of Business Advisory Council and the ISU Foundation Board. He has been recognized as the Professional Achievement Award recipient in the College of Business and the ISU President’s Medallion award, which acknowledges personal achievement, philanthropy and service. Once retiring, Gary moved to northern California where he became a sommelier and worked part-time for a winery. Now fully retired, Gary continues actively investing and serving the University on the College of Business Leadership Board.

Susan has also been extensively involved in her community and with the University. She was a board member and president of the Boise Racquet & Swim Club, as well as a board member for the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and the Mount Baker Theater. For the University, she has served on the Alumni Board of Directors and the College of Business Advisory Council. Susan is currently the treasurer of her local Kiwanis Club and a board member serving on the executive and finance committees for a regional art museum.

Throughout both of their careers, Gary and Susan have remained strong proponents of the University, gifting to the University 34 of the past 36 years, combined. These gifts have included supporting the College of Business, Bengal athletics and the Stephen’s Performing Arts Center. They’ve also established several scholarships and endowments under their own and others’ names.  Additionally, Gary and Susan have an aggregate of 48 years of service upon ISU’s Alumni Board, Foundation Board, as well as the College of Business Advisory Council and College of Business Leadership Board.