Campbell on the big screen

Posted 2/19/21

With all of its growth and its new programs, such as medicine and engineering, Campbell University has received lots of notice around the country. Now it’s about to get a little attention on …

Sign up to keep reading — It's FREE!

In an effort to improve our website and enhance our local coverage, has switched to a membership model. Fill out the form below to create a free account. Once you're logged in, you can continue using the site as normal. You should remain logged in on your computer or device as long as you don’t clear your browser history/cookies.

Campbell on the big screen


With all of its growth and its new programs, such as medicine and engineering, Campbell University has received lots of notice around the country. Now it’s about to get a little attention on the big screen.

Billy Liggett, Campbell’s director of news and publications, has written a wonderful article describing how this came about.

“What would you do if you found out that one of your alumni was going to be portrayed in a movie by Oscar-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch?

“If you’re Campbell Law School Dean J. Rich Leonard, you ask if there is a scene in the movie in which Cumberbatch could possibly wear a shirt bearing the Campbell University logo. And then you make sure that shirt gets into the hands of the filmmakers, who just happen to be filming halfway around the world.

“The result?”

The result is Campbell being featured in a new movie, “The Mauritanian,” that is already generating Oscar buzz.

Mr. Cumberbatch portrays Stuart Coach, a Campbell law graduate who, as a Marine Corps attorney, was assigned to prosecute Mohamedou Ould Slahi, then seen as one of the most important detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Trying to avoid any spoilers, I’ll just say Mr. Coach received national and international praise for his work on the case.

He was also featured in a 2013 book by Wall Street Journal reporter Jess Bravin, who describes the case as “the most important legal story in decades.”

The journey to have Campbell noticed in the film began, according to Mr. Liggett’s article, with a 2019 phone call during which Mr. Coach told Dean Leonard about the upcoming movie, to be filmed in South Africa.

“I asked Stu, ‘What would have been hanging in your office at the time?’” Leonard remembers. “He said my North Carolina law license and my Campbell Law diploma. So we had him send us copies and we had them blown up and framed and sent to the film crew along with half a dozen polos bearing the Campbell logo we had specially ordered.”

The film, by director Kevin Macdonald, also stars Oscar winner Jodie Foster.

STXfilms is releasing “The Mauritanian” in the U.S. today.


A conservative group called Campus Reform, which acts as an informal watchdog of liberal bias in academia, marked Presidents Day this week with five examples of former presidents being canceled on college campuses during the past year:

Miami University in Ohio covered a statue of George Washington with a tarp for an “art installation.”

At none other than George Washington University in, that’s right, Washington, D.C., rioters toppled a bust of our first president.

“In order to create an inclusive and safe environment for all students,” student government members at the University of Wisconsin-Madison voted unanimously to support the removal of the school’s Abraham Lincoln statue.

Students at the University of Missouri demanded that administrators remove a statue of Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of our Declaration of Independence.

Jerry Farley, president of Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, removed a statue of Thomas Jefferson. First, he called the widow of the statue’s donor, expressing his concerns. So she agreed to take it back.

Contact Bart Adams at


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment