Russ Camp Testimonials

Russell R. Camp, PhD
Years at Gordon: 1970-2007

Pete Yorgey,
class of 1976
When I got to grad school straight out of Gordon I found myself worried that I would be far behind, since all my classmates had had many more college biology classes specific to my chosen graduate major. And while I certainly had holes to fill in my knowledge (otherwise why go to grad school?) what I found was that my Gordon biology degree had more than adequately prepared me. I was then and have always been grateful for the broad and solid biology background I got at Gordon and your Cell Biology class was one of those standout classes for me. Thanks for your teaching and all you gave.

Debbie "Nordie" Nordland Kania,
class of 1977
When I was a biology major at Gordon, Dr. Camp was one of my favorite professors. He made the subject matter come alive for me. Because he loved science, he was enthusiastic and it was contagious. Dr. Camp made the subject matter exciting; especially when he would jump around and become so enthused about the spiritual significance of the information he was imparting. It was fascinating and I still regard Advanced Cell Biology as one of my all time favorite classes during my college days.

David Hall,
class of 1977
Dr. Camp was always passionate about his studies, his cross country skiing, about the Lord, and about his students. He is a gift to us.

Wayne A. O'Donal,
class of 1978
After graduation in the spring of 1978, I got a job in the Neuroscience research labs of Children's Hospital in Boston, Mass. One winter day, Dr Camp asked me if I would give a talk on what I did, for some of his students. I do not remember what course of study they were involved in at the time, but I am sure that it was one of his Cell Biology lab classes. I finally decided that I would make it as useful as possible, and so decided that I would present some of my 'failures'. That is, I decided to teach those students on possible artifacts they may encounter in their lab work, both chemical and physical. I guess Dr Camp appreciated my presentation, because sometime later I received an 'Honorarium' of a certain amount of money in the mail. It was a small, but highly regarded and appreciated amount of money that I am still thankful for today. It showed me in a manifest way that I could actually teach others interested in my chosen field of study.

David Smith,
class of 1979
Dr. Camp, I can't believe you're retiring. You've been a bastion of youthful energy in the deptartment, despite the fact that you are approaching a rather super-annuated state! I have long loved your zeal for education, and in particular, for the electron mic. Not only did you permit us to use it, a RARE thing for undergrads, you showed us how the thing worked. Two classes of cell biology were sufficient to get one person a job as an e-mic tech at Mass General! Thanks for loving your students, life, and our Lord with all your heart!

Vicki (Johnson) Beauchemin,
class of 1979
Dr. Camp always had such a positive attitude, and took everything (even "failed" experiments) in stride. As a freshman biology major I remember being amazed because he had a cocoon inside his house, and he left it there to hatch, instead of cleaning it off his wall and throwing it out. That taught me not to compartmentalize my life--learning takes place everywhere, not just in class.

R. Preston Mason, class of 1985
While at Gordon, I appreciated the fact that Dr. Camp would deliberately conduct his research in a manner that would maximize undergraduate student contact with the experimental process. Personally, I had the opportunity to do original research in the area of molecular biology (identify new restriction endonuclease enzymes). This was truly a life transforming experience that contributed to my decision to pursue a career in medical research. Beyond the wonderful learning experience, we as students were given the opportunity to come to know Dr. Camp on a personal level. He regularly invited students to his cabin to relax and enjoy cross country skiing while also learning more about the field of biology. I also attended church with his family and saw first hand his commitment to Christ as expressed through his service in many areas, such as music.

Sharon (McDonald) Lyons, class of 1985
All the biology professors during my time at Gordon were excellent, but I have to say my favorite was Dr. Camp. During the early 80s Dr. Camp provided us the cutting edge experience of the molecular biology wave--isolating restriction enzymes. I still remember the wonder and surprise of the florescent DNA bands cut with enzymes that Paula Wright, Margie Bell and I isolated from some shower scum. (It was Margie's shower for the record.) He is a diligent, humble, all around wonderful person. Also, the mac and cheese with tomato soup has become a staple for my own kids, too. Thanks Dr. Camp!

Dr. Douglas Auld, class of 1986
The 1980s was a time when the tools to facilitate molecular biology where migrating from basic research toward the fueling of a growing biotechnology industry. Dr. Camp ensured that students at Gordon obtained exposure to the exciting advances and new technologies that were being rapidly developed during this time. The practical knowledge that Dr. Camp was able to impart on his students from such exercises allowed them to absorb some of the so-called "tribal-knowledge" of the field. Such hands-on experiences were an important mechanism of learning for me. Dr. Camp has always shown the qualities of a mentor by his encouraging and enthusiastic disposition, knowledge of the field and love of his work and my education at Gordon College was greatly affected by Dr. Camp's teaching style. Best wishes for the future.

Dorothy Boorse, class of 1987
We will sorely miss Russ when he leaves. Little did I know when I joined the biology faculty, how much I would need his breadth of knowledge, or how often I would have to ask him to help identify birds, fungi, fish, and plants, or ask his advice about caring for animals. One day I remember very clearly, my students and I had collected numerous plants in a wetland. Russ dropped what he was doing, and in minutes had saved me hours of time keying by quickly identifying many of the plants. Russ, we will miss you and we appreciate your special gifts. They will be difficult to replace. Norma, we appreciate the role you have had as a quiet rock and steadying influence. We are so grateful for the many times in your home and all of the angel food cakes with fruit and whipped cream. Thank you both for a long time with us and best wishes in retirement.

Don LaMarche, class of 1987
I remember being in class at Gordon College a little over 20 years ago, getting my note pad and pens together for the typical intense ride through molecular biology I had become accustomed to when suddenly my typically serious professor wielded a guitar with strap from a case on the floor and after placing the strap around his neck, Dr. Camp started strumming and singing "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." With all his intense seriousness regarding electron microscopy, restriction enzymes, and protein kinesis, he had finally cracked, but in a good way. Although he never left the first position of the guitar fret board on that initial performance that I saw, everybody smiled and had a good time in class that day and what an audience and what most people really want is to be happy and smile and of course to have something to be happy and smile about.

Dr. Julia (Keith) Frugoli, class of 1988
Now that I'm a tenured genetics professor at a research university, I completely understand the enthusiasm and excitement Dr. Camp brought to everything he taught. During Developmental Biology, Dr Camp drove the 5 of us taking the course to a symposium in Boston where I heard a few Nobel laureates talk and my decision was sealed. Now, at a large university with lots of undergraduates, I realize how precious and important the one-on-one interactions with the faculty at Gordon and the ability to take advantage of the scientific resources in Boston was.

Lisa (Sargent) Satterwhite,
class of 1988
I have many wonderful memories of Dr. Camp. One of my favorites is when another student and I were working on a lab all day. Things were not looking very good when all of a sudden, Dr. Camp entered the lab, looked at us and said, "You guys look like you need a song!" He suddenly disappeared, only to return with a guitar in hand. He sat on the stairs and belted out an old James Taylor number. He sang a few more songs then disappeared again leaving us to continue with our lab work. Only now, we had a smile on our faces. This happened quite frequently during the course.

Craig Story, class of 1989
I am so glad to have had the privilege to graduate from calling you "Dr. Camp" to the familiar "Russ." Thank you for your tremendous support and encouragement of me in my teaching and research. I aspire to be as supportive of students entering the field of biology as you have been over the years. I promise to keep the tradition of bringing students to the Whitehead Symposium each year, and to practice the guitar!

Carol Gordon, class of 1989

Thank you, Dr. Camp, for all the great experiences and opportunities you gave me. In your modern histology class I learned all about the scanning and electron microscope, with hands-on experience! One of my most enjoyable experiences you gave me was my first time cross-country skiing. Once I got over the freezing cold temperatures and my feet warmed up, it was sheer joy to coast through a winter wonderland. Thanks for the memories and for having confidence in me.

Debbie (Flint) Daniel, MD,
class of 1989
One of the most important memories I have of Dr. Camp comes from our Cell Biology class during junior year. There were only two of us in the course that year, Leslie Purnell and I. On the Friday before the MCAT, we arrived to our 8 A.M. class more concerned about getting on to Saturday than anything else. Neither of us was all that focused on Cell Biology at that point. In comes Dr. Camp, guitar case in hand. He sat down, asked us how we were doing, and told us to put our books aside for the morning. We went on to spend that class singing praise songs and praying for the MCAT the next day and all the things that were to come in the following year. What a blessing and example that was. He knew how to prioritize the important in our lives and addressed them head on. That day I was truly ministered to in Cell Biology class. How many people can say that about their upper level Bio classes?

Dr. Gary Winn, class of 1991
The quintessential Camp moment was during a parasitology lab, when he stated that it was too nice a day to study parasites inside. He proceeded to drive us first to his house where he had us scavenge worms out of his compost pile and toss them in his wife's Tupperware container. After this harvest he drove us to his boat and took us waterskiing to get us in the true science mood. We settled down to use the worms to catch fish that he said we would examine for parasites back at the lab. Well one thing lead to another and when we got back the fish were abandoned on the lawn just outside of Dr. Andrus' window as other projects had taken over. A few days later a very no so pleased Dr. Andrus let our class know that she did not appreciate her new maggot infested air freshener, rotting on the lawn. Dr. Camp, you are a man who honors God by being dedicated to your family, blessing your students and worshipping with your guitar.

Dr. Sherri (Gowling) Renwick, class of 1993
Here are a few memories of class with Dr. Camp…
…starting class with prayer
…James Taylor on his guitar
…Dr. Camp's enthusiasm for life… down to the very essence of a cell
…remembering his ability to answer a question with more questions
…knowing that he has touched so many varying professions by teaching the foundations of biology to thousands of eager students.
Thank you, Dr. Camp, for your contribution to Gordon College, to the multitude of learners, and to my education for life!!

Navid Mahooti, M.D., MPH, class of 1996
I am very proud and honored to have had you as a professor, friend, and mentor during my four short years at Gordon. How can I ever forget the countless hours we spent tinkering behind that electron microscope; the conference(s) and symposiums we attended in Boston; the Chinese food feast we had as a class (thanks to the award money from a poster we submitted); the James Taylor impersonations and funky folk guitar melodies you'd play for us; and the independent study projects we worked on together. Thank you, Dr. Camp, for believing in me and allowing me to carve my own path in my pursuit of medicine. Your faith in the Lord and love for Christ, coupled with your desire to teach and share you knowledge with your students, blessed me and many of my classmates immeasurably. Thank you for caring so much.

Kelly Ilseman,
class of 1998
I can't listen to a James Taylor song without remembering your performance in Genetics class. Thanks for all of your guidance throughout my years at Gordon.

Adrienne (Rogers) Raptis,
class of 2001
When I think of Dr. Camp the first thing that comes to mind is his incredible passion. One of the things that makes him such an excellent professor is his ability to have that passion rub off on his students. I once took a class with him called "Parasitology and Public Health", which was incredibly fascinating. In our labs, we often dissected mice that had been infected with malaria or tapeworms or various other pathogens, and I distinctly remember his enthusiasm for having us see the actual agent that caused the disease.

Andrew Wheeler, class of 2001
Congrats on an awesome career! Gordon will not be the same without you. "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard." Psalm 19:1-3. Thank you for teaching me how literal these verses really are! I praise God that He has created a world that we can observe and experiment in and by doing so we learn more and more about Him!

Jennifer (Bonina) Noseworthy, class of 2002
I have felt blessed that I had the opportunity to work with Russ in so many ways and am inspired by his strong Christian witness and his passion for science. Thank you, Russ, for all that you have done to contribute to the success of so many biology students at Gordon. Your commitment to academic excellence and passion for biology is evident and I would just like to say "Job well done!"

Raymond C. James, class of 2002
In my junior year, Dr. Camp asked me to put together a histology poster presentation for a microscopy symposium that he was attending, which was fast approaching. I knew it wasn't groundbreaking research, but it was another way to engage the material I had learned in class. On finishing the poster, Dr. Camp said, "This is not good…" my heart sank for a moment, and then he said "…it's perfect!" in that animated way, like when he's about to sing a Bio-Bob Dillon song about sepia-eyed flies or an energy pumping ribosome. Dr. Camp presented the poster at Woods Hole and we received honors for our collaboration. I'm still grateful for that opportunity, and it was the impetus for my first job out of college. Dr. Camp really encouraged each of his students in their endeavors. He never ceased pushing me to see beyond the terminology of textbooks and to understand the creative process that is science.

Beth Larson, class of 2003
Dr. Camp definitely made a difference at Gordon College, especially for the science majors. He made it fun and unique. I still have some of his songs that he created on a piece of paper to remember biology class. I loved singing songs with him in class, him with his guitar and Teva sandals! I looked forward on winter mornings, seeing from my seat in the cafeteria, Dr. Camp sliding along Gull Pond on his cross country skis. He was such an active guy; full of life and love. Tell him thank you from me for making my years at Gordon some of the most memorable ones in my life. May God be changing hearts and minds there at Gordon College!

Jonathan Lopez, class of 2003
One could not help but smile when Dr. Camp would bring out his guitar and sing "On the Road Again", appropriating the lyrics to the subject of neuronal migration. His originals, such as "We All Love Biology", were killer, too. He inspired us to take part in and take apart the world around us, to put it back together with the crucial understanding that God made it for His own glory. Each new revelation of knowledge was fresh and exciting to him and he passed on this legacy to his students.

Esther Stoltz, class of 2003
What memories the name "Dr. Camp" evokes. My first personal experience with him was at the freshman biology party which he held at his house. It was there that I was introduced to two of his musical loves: singing about biology, and playing songs by James Taylor on his guitar. Throughout my years at Gordon I came to know and love "My Brown-eyed Fly" and "The Respiratory Chain." I have so many memories of Dr. Camp. He was the at the heart of the biology department, and his excitement was infectious. The lessons he taught me, and his excitement about biology, remain with me to this day.

Jungsoo Byun, class of 2004
I cannot imagine how my life would have been changed if I hadn't had a chance to assist you for the MLV research 4 years ago. At that time I had neither experience nor skill for scientific research. However, you had encouraged me to be involved in your research project and brought me to various scientific meetings to be exposed to the scientific world outside of a classroom. I remember when you asked me to be a speaker for the NESM meeting. Since I was an international student and didn't speak English fluently, I was timid and unconfident. When I was hesitating to say yes, your encouragements and comments made me feel confident to stand up in front of many professors and scientists. If you didn't help me to step out of my comfort zone at that time, I would have not been where I am right now.

Kate Laporte, class of 2006
Dr. Camp's energy and excitement for research is infectious. While I worked with Dr. Camp in an independent research project, I grew excited about science itself for the first time. His unwavering encouragement gave me the confidence to pursue and obtain a "real" job in science right after graduation. Dr. Camp's willingness to bring me along to meetings and to talk with me about concepts I was just trying to grasp gave me a strong foundation in my understanding of the world of science. I am so very grateful for his time, effort and persistent belief in me. I will always smile at the memories of traveling to all those microscopy meetings, listening, of course, to Bob Dylan on the stereo as we drove.

Chuck Blend, Ph.D.

In my view, Russ' most outstanding character trait worthy of your positive evaluation is his enthusiasm towards all things science, and this enthusiasm is infectious. At times when I am overworked and tired (and that is often), I need only stop by his office for a brief conversation. Within minutes this conversation will turn to the research we both have going on in our respective labs. He loves to hear about the work/research interests of all the faculty under his supervision. It is truly uplifting and supportive for me to see him become so excited at the work I am doing.