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Bruce Campbell: An unsung hero behind our bumper crops of Fulbright Scholarships

By Erin Zagursky

Over the past decade, William & Mary’s students and alumni have been very successful in obtaining Fulbright Scholarships to teach and study in countries around the world. This year alone, a record 13 students and alumni were selected.

But the students who have obtained the highly competitive scholarships did not get there on their own. Much of their success is owed to the support and opportunities offered to them by the College’s faculty and staff members, who work tirelessly with students to prepare them for the scholarships.

One of those faculty members is Bruce Campbell, an associate professor of German and associate chair of faculty affairs in the modern languages & literatures department.

“While many William & Mary faculty members take an active interest in promoting the Fulbright program to their students and mentoring them through the process, Bruce has really made it a mission to increase the number of Fulbrighters we send to Germany and Austria,” said Lisa Grimes, William & Mary Fulbright program advisor. “The proof of his success is in the numbers: four of our students are currently finishing up a year in Austria or Germany, and in the fall we’re sending four students to teach English, one to conduct research, and one student is an alternate for a position in Germany. No other country has nearly that many Fulbright recipients or applications.”

Campbell said that he—along with colleagues—have made a conscious effort over the past decade to assist students in applying for Fulbrights or other academic honors. That help begins with letting the students know what opportunities are available to them as soon as possible in their college career.

He was also quick to note that the College’s Fulbright success begins with its students.

“We don’t coach the students, we don’t write things for them—the students are doing it on their own. We’re just there every step of the way,” Campbell said.

And when those students succeed—as they have done for a decade now—the professors celebrate, too. Campbell, who was an English teaching assistant in Germany himself, knows what it can do for a student’s life and career.

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