Who are the Marshbanks?

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Burgess P. Marshbanks Sr. in the 1951 Pine Burr yearbook.

There were 43 oral or poster presentations that included a total of 72 Campbell University students at Wiggins Memorial Library’s 3rd Annual Academic Symposium on Tuesday. One of those presentations highlighted the interviews that a group of communication studies majors conducted with Dr. Burgess Marshbanks Jr., a retired dentist who has lived much of his life near the university’s Buies Creek campus. He’s also the son of the late Burgess Marshbanks Sr., the namesake of the university’s largest dining facility. 

Dr. Marshbanks Jr., along with his wife and daughter, attended the students’ presentation Tuesday and thanked them for taking the time to interview him. As part of his words of appreciation, he said:

"These are super, super students, and it makes me feel good about our country when I know this kind of leadership is on the way up. These are top-notch young people."

After the presentation, Marshbanks also shared why it was important for scholars to collect oral histories, as the communication studies students had done with him:

"I had a really, really good friend — a super guy — whom I once heard say the age-old truth: ‘If you don’t know where you’ve been, you aren’t going to know where you’re going.’

And that’s the reason why I think we should hang on to our  history. It’s a guideline, a blueprint for where we go. We can look at mistakes, we can look at what we have done right, and we can build for the future. Knowing our history is very, very important. If we lose that, we lose our anchor.” 

So, here’s a brief history of the building on Campbell’s campus that is named for his father:

When the Marshbanks Dining Hall was first built in 1934, the facility could seat up to 400 students. It underwent its first major expansion in 1957 when three dining spaces, three service lines and more storage space were added, extending its seating capacity to 1,000.

It’s named for Burgess Pinckney “B.P.” Marshbanks Sr., a former professor of mathematics and business manager at Campbell University. Marshbanks joined Campbell in 1909 and taught senior mathematics, senior English, law and Bible until 1934, when he was named business manager. He went on to serve as a dean and vice president at Campbell before retiring in 1952.

A native of Mars Hill, N.C., he earned his graduate degree from what is now Wake Forest University. When he was being considered for a teaching position at Campbell, a professor at Wake Forest said of Marshbanks: “Of all the men I know, there is no one whom I could recommend more heartily and unreservedly. This applies to him as a man in general and also to his special fitness for a place you are trying to fill.” Marshbanks died in 1970.

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