Minute of Appreciation for Barbara Campbell
Often considered the “stealth” Overseer because of her ability to thoroughly separate her role as mother to three Penn Charter students from her responsibilities as a trustee, Barbara Campbell served this school with dedication, discipline, and quiet strength for seven years. Were it the board’s choice to make, she would certainly continue, but she has asked to be relieved of her duties so as to initiate other good work. We can only say that whichever organization receives her time, and insight, we are certain it will be the better for it.
Known as Mrs. Delaney to the faculty and Barbara Campbell to the Overseers, Barbara joined the Penn Charter board in September 2008, taking Lew Somers’ seat. This was an apt match, for each had the most remarkable sense of integrity, loyalty to the school, and belief in the public purpose of our 325 year-old institution.
Deeply thoughtful, and quietly perceptive about Penn Charter’s capacity to explore and live out William Penn’s purpose, Barbara wielded her Quaker sensibilities with tact and generosity. She quickly became an important contributor to the Religious Life and Education Committees, waiting for the right moment to center a discussion on essential truths. When she spoke, Overseers and Administrators listened, and when she listened, she absorbed the full range of opportunity. With her softly spoken words and good ideas she nudged the school to take the right steps at the right time.
Her committee work on the religious and academic life of the school made her a natural choice to join the strategic vision committee, where her compassion, truthfulness, and capacity to listen helped move the school forward in essential ways during critical years.
As an Overseer colleague puts it, Barbara’s manner of thinking and participating was quiet, reflective, and intelligently insightful. She added qualities to the strategic planning committee that were essential to the plan’s emergence as a cohesive and visionary document for Penn Charter. The Center for Public Purpose was a natural outgrowth of work she did throughout her seven years.
As a Friend, Barbara added inclusion, and insight rooted in deep thinking, to Overseer meetings. When she spoke, her words came from a thoughtful, inner, process that contributed to Overseers’ understanding of the long-term effects of our decisions. She brought a capacity to listen and a quiet perspective, a Quakerly voice, to Penn Charter’s meetings. She was easy to talk to and easy to be with.
Barbara had three children in the school: Kathryn, Meg, and Jack. At the request of Stephanie Judson, she then took on a “fourth child,” Karim Zagha, the school’s 2010-2011 Palestinian exchange student from Ramallah Friends School. Barbara has a tremendous capacity for nurturing, and Karim had all the privileges of a son while living in the Delaney’s house. Even now, four years later, Karim continues to receive care packages, boxes of clothing, and socks in the mail from the Delaneys. He has a permanent home away from home for the holidays with the family. Barbara not only ensured that Karim lacked for nothing, but most especially, that he received a fair share of the family’s love.
Throughout her tenure on the board, Barbara was always positive and present at our meetings, and inspired Overseers with her excellent example. Her voice at our table will certainly be missed.