President Anderson Announces Plans to Retire

Anderson_President

Dr. Eric Anderson

After nine years as president of Southwestern Adventist University, Eric Anderson announced yesterday his intention to retire.  Speaking to a regular meeting of University faculty and staff, Anderson said, “My wife and I believe that God called us to Keene and we have been richly blessed during our years here.”

“He has been an excellent leader for the University,” says Pastor Larry Moore, chairman of Southwestern’s board of trustees.  “He and his wife have both contributed greatly to our program.”

“His integrity, drive, enthusiasm and excellent communication skills have made him a dynamic leader,” says Max Trevino, another board member and former chairman.

Anderson has had one of the longest presidential tenures in Southwestern history.  Only one other president, Marvin Anderson, had more continuous years of service.  (Another president, founding Principal C.B. Hughes, served 13 years in three scattered terms.)  Influential leaders H. H. Hamilton and Donald R. McAdams also served nine years each.

“I’m leaving the University in good hands,” says Anderson.  “Our team of vice presidents is outstanding. We also have a strong and improving faculty.” He noted the “dramatic growth” in this year’s freshman class and recent improvement to campus facilities.

“My most important goal was to enhance Southwestern’s academic quality while preserving our distinctive Christian environment,” states the president.  According to religion teacher Bill Kilgore, Anderson brought a “unique blend of scholarship and spirituality” to his leadership.  Andrew Woolley, director of the Honors Program, credited Anderson with having a “vision of the benefits of a liberal arts education.”

Anderson has a doctorate in history from the University of Chicago, and has published academic studies on a variety of subjects, including Reconstruction, southern black education, and church history.  During his time as president, he occasionally taught courses in the history department and the Southwestern honors program.

“This university is founded on the idea that teachers are moral exemplars, not mere sources of information,” asserts Anderson.  “A teacher’s ‘subject,’ important as it is, is only a small part of what he or she teaches.”

Anderson and his wife of 43 years, Loretta Tallios Anderson, plan to retire in Napa County, California, next door to their oldest son and his family.  They are looking forward to spending time with their two grandsons, whom Anderson describes as “red-headed savages.”

“We will always have a special place in our hearts for Texas and this college,” Anderson says.  “I hope to do volunteer work for the University in my retirement.”

The president of a sister college praised Anderson for his leadership in the Association of Adventist Colleges and Universities.  According to Heather Knight, President of Pacific Union College, “His years of service at Southwestern have been marked by remarkable progress: enrollment growth, enhanced philanthropy and a spirit of overall improvement on campus.”

Anderson noted “important unfinished business” for the University, including a new academic building and “replacing retiring faculty.”   He also noted the need to keep college affordable through “creative collaboration” with other schools.

“I had the privilege of working closely with Eric,” observes Karl Konrad, retired chemistry professor and former academic dean.  “He has a deep concern that Southwestern be true to its founding spiritual principles.  His leadership has set a path for excellence for Southwestern to follow.”

Other faculty and staff noted that Anderson had both an “upbeat take on life” and a “wicked sense of humor.”  People remember Loretta Anderson’s social leadership.  “I will miss her Greek food greatly,” says Woolley.

“This day has come too soon,” observed one administrator.

 

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