Anderson University was founded in 1911, but the institution’s rich future was set into motion long before that. There have been so many different people that have played roles in the formation of Anderson into the institution it is today, and those stories are what makes everything so special about this place.
I remember having conversations with an alumna that lived on Kingsley Street just across from campus her entire life. I was captivated because these were stories that had never been recorded. I sat and listened to stories about her seeing President Annie Dove Denmark walk across campus when she became the first female collegiate president in the state of South Carolina and other anecdotal stories from her front porch view of the campus as it formed into the wonderful institution it is today.
Then, there are times that I get to enjoy stories at events on campus where we bring alumni back that have not seen each other, or the University, in many years. You can learn a lot from their stories: of classes and professors they had who impacted their lives or of interactions with their classmates or the different staff that had helped mould them. It is exciting to sit back and watch them see a transformed campus and to witness them interacting with new members of the Anderson family while they are here on campus.
I could go on and on about different instances where I have seen these stories come to life. There is just something different about this campus, about this place and about our Anderson family. I wish that I could put it into words, but I feel that any attempt at it would not do it justice. I think that I will leave it to the one I know that did it best, the late Johnny Mann, when he penned the Centennial Alma Mater.
The sounds of Anderson live in my heart,
Live in my memories, the sounds of joy;
The dreams of Anderson tell tales of tears and happiness
In golden days gone by.
Seeds of learning will flourish;
New friends will guide us through the land.
These are the friendships we cherish
Touched by God’s almighty hand.
We know we love our alma mater;
We know the joy of life she brings,
Ah, but there’s one thing that only God can know;
What Anderson means to me.
Without the interactions of people and the stories that take place through those interactions, the Anderson family would not be as rich and robust as it is now. Each story that we hear, each person that the story represents, and the way that each story interacts with the Kingdom—this is why this University exists. And this is why the AU online alumni network was formed—to provide a platform for each one of our alumni to connect with those that came before them and those that come after them so that more stories of our amazing graduates can continue to be told for many years to come.
To make the AU Network what it was intended to be, we need you. When you start a new job, achieve a milestone in your profession, change your email address or move, please let us know. Share with us if you get married or if there is a birth. We have a space on the alumni website to share pictures of both. Please stay connected as you are a special part of the AU story.
You can also share your Anderson journey in a new feature on the website. This allows you to tell us what Anderson means to you, just as I am always thankful for this column to tell you what Anderson means to me. Long live Anderson.