In spite of the expanded facilities, increased endowment, new curriculum, and learned faculty, Rutgers College never had sizable enrollments of students during William Campbell’s administration. There were rarely more than 170 students attending the college at one time, and in 1882, the last year of his presidency, there were only 113. Nonetheless, the students of the college proved to be successful in their studies and in the careers they entered following graduation. During their collegiate years, they established several significant organizations, activities, and enterprises that were to become traditional to Rutgers. In January 1869, the first issue of the student newspaper, the Targum was published, and two years later the first college annual, the Scarlet Letter, was issued by the junior class. In 1873 the Rutgers Glee Club was formed and with it, the song “On the Banks” was composed by Howard N. Fuller. The first athletic clubs were formed during the 1860s and 1870s, and in 1869, the first intercollegiate football contest was played between Rutgers and Princeton.
Following two very eventful decades, William H. Campbell resigned from the presidency of Rutgers College. Failing eyesight caused him to relinquish his duties, but he remained until a successor was found. In 1882 he left Rutgers to organize the Suydam Street Reformed Church, serving as its pastor until shortly before his death on December 7, 1890.
This biographical sketch was authored by Thomas J. Frusciano, the university archivist. It originally appeared in The Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries.