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Our History: Featured Alumni/ae: Campbell, Preston W., 1897

Over the decades our graduates have developed distinguished careers as justices, members of Congress, ambassadors, educators, business people, and community leaders in many fields. This site features some of those late graduates.

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Preston White Campbell

Judge, Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

Preston White Campbell was born in Abingdon, Virginia in 1874. Campbell read law locally and was admitted to the bar in 1896. He attended the University of Virginia but did not graduate. Campbell practiced law in Abingdon for fourteen years. In May 1901 he was elected to represent the district comprising Washington County and the city of Bristol in a convention called to revise the constitution of Virginia. He was the fifth member of the Campbell family since 1776 to represent his county in a state convention. Campbell served on the Committee on the Bill of Rights.

Campbell served from 1911 to 1914 as Commonwealth's Attorney for Washington County. On March 25, 1914, he was appointed to the vacant judgeship of the Twenty-third Circuit, comprising Scott, Smyth, and Washington counties, and was subsequently elected to a full term. On January 23, 1924, Democrats in the General Assembly nominated Campbell for a vacant seat on the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. The assembly formally elected him six days later. Campbell qualified for his seat on the bench on January 31, 1924, and began his term the following day. After the death of Chief Justice Robert R. Prentis on November 25, 1931, Campbell became Chief Justice and served until his retirement on October 1, 1946. He died in Abingdon in 1954.

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