Arch Campbell Endowment for Creativity

Mar 18, 2008 | Excellence Funds & Program Support

The Arch Campbell Endowment for Creativity was created in 2008 and is used to support undergraduate and/or graduate student projects related to narrative or documentary film work, radio or documentary photojournalism. Winning projects are selected based on academic merit and creative vision, and the award alternates annually between the Department of Radio-Television-Film and the School of Journalism.

Born in 1946 to Miller and Martha Campbell, Arch Campbell grew up in San Antonio. His mother was a government worker who eventually became a first-grade teacher. His father was a salesman whose greatest pitch was selling his son on the power of the movies. Some of Campbell’s fondest memories are of watching old horror films with his father.

Arch Campbell
Campbell did whatever he could to experience the power of film, but it wasn’t until he took a speech class in high school that he considered turning this passion into a career. Campbell graduated from The University of Texas with a bachelor’s in radio-television-film and a master’s degree in journalism.

Upon graduation, Campbell went to work at WFAA, a radio station in Dallas, and soon transitioned into television, becoming a feature reporter for Channel 8 in Dallas. In 1974, he moved to Washington, D.C., joined WRC-TV as a feature reporter, and was picked up nationally by NBC. Campbell worked 12-hour shifts and took advantage of anything thrown his way, including being the weekend weatherman for Channel 4.

Arch Campbell

As the Washington Post recounted it, Campbell’s news director at WFAA “walked into the newsroom and growled, ‘I want a movie reviewer.’ Campbell looked around. The room had gone silent. No one wanted the gig. He raised his hand and got the job” of film critic by default. His first review was American Graffiti for NBC-4. From 1985-1990 he hosted The Arch Campbell Show, a late night comedy show that won more than a dozen Emmys.

After 32 years at NBC-4, Campbell announced his retirement in 2014. But retirement has only ushered in his “third act”. He is now a member of The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where he is working on essays based on his experiences.

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