Thressa Campbell

Born in 1920, the first of two siblings, Thressa Campbell was raised on a large farm in upstate New York, near Lake Ontario. In her recollection, this unspoiled land was carpeted with wild flowers in spring and covered with white snow in winter.

Thressa's childhood home.
Thressa's childhood home.

Thressa at the age of three.
Thressa at the age of three

Thressa in her high school orchestra.
Thressa in her high school orchestra (sitting, third from right)

When Thressa was eleven, her father died suddenly, which left the family in a difficult situation during the depths of the Great Depression. Yet she excelled in her high school. Thressa sang the song, "Our aim: Don't dodge difficulties," with her high-school classmates at her 1936 commencement. She was valedictorian of her class. Thressa had already developed a strong sense of independence and responsibility, along with intellectual maturity, in her teenage years.

Thressa entered Cornell University on a New York State Regents Scholarship and supported herself by working as a waitress for four hours a day. She graduated in 1940 with a B.S. in microbiology. Thressa then worked as a bacteriologist in a company that produced paper containers for milk, but she did not find this industrial job very stimulating. After some months, Thressa moved to the New York State Agricultural Station in Geneva, where she conducted research on the vitamin requirements of lactic acid bacteria and she also took courses at Cornell. In two years Thressa received an M.S. in bacteriology and nutrition from Cornell. She decided to continue her education at the University of California, Berkeley.

Thressa's Scholarship Certificate.
Thressa 's Scholarship Certificate