By Katherine Parker
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Norman-born and Norman-bred graduating college senior Tyler Campbell will don a cap and gown and say goodbye to home and family as he prepares to graduate this weekend.
No ordinary University of Oklahoma student, Campbell has won award after award during his four years at OU, most recently adding the prestigious Letzeiser silver medal to his shelf, along with Outstanding Student in Economics and Outstanding Student in International Business, making him one of the top three students nominated by faculty in both fields of study.
Tyler is the son of Tracy and Mark Campbell, owner of Carpet Center. His older sister is Ashley Vargas. Anna Campbell, of Norman, is his grandmother. Tyler’s other grandparents, Shirley and Jerry Farris, of Duncan, died recently.
He will graduate from OU summa cum laude and with his bachelor’s degree in international business and economics and a minor in Spanish.
“We always told Tyler, you can do whatever you want and be whatever you want. You’ve got to finish what you start and give it your personal best,” said Tyler’s mom, Tracy. “We always tried to set that example. Kids hear what you say, but they follow what you do.”
Besides his academic accomplishments, Tyler has spent his time at OU helping others through various philanthropies. Tyler worked with Dance Marathon, now Soonerathon, a campus-wide fundraising event, as well as The Oklahoma Group to provide pro bono consulting services.
“Growing up, helping others has always been a part of how I’ve spent my time. It’s been ingrained in me, especially in a community like Norman,” he said.
Tyler’s mother said she is most proud of her son’s kind heart. She described her son as responsible and caring with intuitive leadership skills. Volunteerism is very important to him, she said.
“I love his compassionate spirit for all people ... He could have won no awards and we would be just as proud,” she said.
Although Tyler grew up in Norman attending Roosevelt Elementary, Whittier Middle School and Norman North High School, he said attending OU had allowed him to see the area in a new light.
“I’ve been very happy at OU with the study abroad programs and opportunities in international business. That’s what really sealed the deal for me,” Campbell said. “OU is a community to itself. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like Norman.”
Additionally, while at OU, Tyler took advantage of OU’s study abroad opportunities and spent a semester in Utrecht, Netherlands.
“Here (in the U.S.), we can be narrow minded and only think about the future. When I was abroad, I learned to live in the moment and to slow down,” he said. “For example, if it was a gorgeous day outside and a Tuesday. It didn’t matter; everyone stopped to enjoy the moment. I think I needed that, and I’ve done a lot of that my last semester at OU.”
After graduation, Tyler will head to Dallas to work in management consulting for 10 weeks during a paid internship at Sendero Business Services. Then Tyler said he would like to move to and work in Boston.
“I plan on eventually pursuing my master’s in urban planning and continuing to be involved in my community,” he said.
As busy as Tyler has been with graduation activities, he said he had been thinking a lot about his grandparents (Shirely and Jerry) and reminisced about playing cards and dominoes with his grandad and spending time with the whole family at Arbuckle Lake.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about how I wish they could be at graduation,” he said.
Tyler said it was going to be strange to say goodbye to Norman, and even though he was looking forward to new opportunities, Norman would always be home.
“OU has taught me what it takes to make a community,” Campbell said.
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