Class of ’26 | Noah Baker

Noah Baker | Tobaccoville, North Carolina

For a kid  from a town called Tobaccoville going to a college in an area surrounded by tobacco fields, Noah Baker is dreaming big.

“I’m in the ROTC program, and I’ll be studying engineering at Campbell, so hopefully my career path is in the Army,” he says. “I want to learn to fly, further my education and one day work for NASA or SpaceX. At least that’s the goal.”

Baker chose Campbell because he enjoys the intimacy here. He likes the smaller class sizes and having professors who know his name. He likes that he’ll get to be hands-on from Day 1 in his engineering courses.

Career aside, he’s also here to make friends. He’s counting on the advice from his parents being true.  “They’ve told me I’ll still see my high school friends and the friends I grew up with, but it’s in college where you meet the people you’ll carry with you through life,” he says. “And I’m hoping to find a bit of individuality here. Become my own person.”

Digital Edition

These stories are only the beginning. For this edition of Campbell Magazine, they’re an introduction to 12 students —chosen randomly during the third of four summer orientations hosted on the main campus this year — and a documentation of expectations heading into a four-year college journey.

All 12 agreed to give us more than just the 20 minutes it took to talk and take a few photos back in June. They’re allowing us to check in over the next four years to help chronicle their Campbell experience. And they’ve all agreed to sit down with us again in May 2026 to share their updated stories (and take a few more photos). In order to tell a story of growth and maturation, it’s best to start at the very beginning.

These interviews revealed a heightened sense of hope for a group whose high school careers were defined and marred by a global pandemic. Online classes became the norm, and many of their gatherings and social events were masked or socially distanced. Proms, athletic events and milestone ceremonies were either canceled, altered or virtual.

“Man is, by nature, a social animal,” Aristotle once wrote. Second to earning a degree and starting a career, this class is eager to connect socially with their peers and become part of an “experience” and a community that they mostly missed out on in high school.

It’s our hope that all 12 of these students join us again in four years to tell us all about their Campbell experience. We’re confident that those who do will return older, wiser, more confident and ready to take on the world.

We’re excited to tell these stories. See you in 2026.