Community Gathers to Support Matthew Campbell with Video Message

SHREVEPORT, La. — At noon Friday, Feb. 1, the running track at the Centenary Fitness Center began filling up with well-wishers. Students, faculty, staff, and members of our local Shreveport-Bossier community brought banners, signs, smiles, and loud cheers, all to cheer Matthew Campbell. Matthew passed away on Sunday, February 4, but he and his family were able, in his final hours, to view the warm wishes sent to him by the community.

Marketing & Communication staff at Centenary College pushed the video camera along the cheering crowd (see slideshow). Edited together with a song performed by the Centenary College Choir, other special messages from campus groups, and similar video of Matthew's classmates lining the hallways at Youree Drive Middle School, the video was sent to Matthew on Saturday.

"We are a family," said Chaplain Betsy Eaves of the Centenary community, "and this is what a family does. Some of our students waited to leave town for our academic break because they wanted to be a part of this. The basketball team postponed their departure for an away game. The Choir canceled practice to gather here instead. And all to just encourage a young man who has captured our hearts."

Eaves had the idea for this event after she visited the Campbell family in Dallas earlier this week. She felt that Matthew needed a special boost of encouragement to finish his race to recovery.

"I told him that he had to finish this race, and that it was a race he had to run by himself. But the truth is that there are many helping him run, cheering him on," Eaves said. "We want him to be able to see that."

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About Centenary

Centenary College of Louisiana is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and is regularly rated as one of the top colleges in the South.