A retired army officer and exercise enthusiast, Cameron taught the University’s first gym classes in 1860 and is considered the founder of the athletics program. He had tried to start gym classes at Queen's in 1857, but was unable to secure the Board of Trustees' support until the Alma Mater Society threw its weight behind the idea in 1860.
In his proposal to the Board, Cameron wrote that students needed exercise to "invigorate the frame...and rest the mind," and, consistent with his military interests, that every student in Canada should learn how to "defend himself and his country."
He was careful to add that the Queen's gym would be "retired from jeering spectators," an indication of the low esteem in which athletics were then held. The first gym was a small room in Summerhill fitted out with "vaulting cross-bars, ladder-ropes, and a few other items."
Cameron favoured exercises "of a military nature" such as those "with dumb-bells and clubs as in the army," and trained students in these exercises three to four hours a week for several years. It is unclear when his connection with the University came to an end.