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In This Issue

       

First as a professor, then a generous donor, Robert Anderson cared about WSU students

Photo of Darlene and Bob Anderson
Darlene and Bob Anderson in 2010 when they were presented the Fairmount Founders' Award.

It is fitting that the memorial service for Robert Anderson was held at the Rhatigan Student Center on the Wichita State University campus.

Dr. Anderson and his late wife, Darlene, loved Wichita State and its students. Anyone who attended events regularly on campus, whether athletic, academic or cultural, was likely to run into the Andersons. The couple audited classes, swam at the Heskett Center, attended arts programs and held season tickets to basketball, baseball and volleyball.

Dr. Anderson, who also served on the WSU faculty from 1967 to 1992, died on April 18 after an illness. He was 85. His wife died in January 2014 at the age of 82.

The Andersons were renowned for their generosity in establishing 21 scholarships and fellowships supporting WSU students over the past 25 years. They rarely missed one of the WSU Foundation’s scholarship events, held so that scholarship donors and their student recipients could become acquainted. The scholarships they endowed helped students in several colleges — Health Professions, Education and the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences — as well as student athletes in a variety of sports.

Mike Lamb, WSU Foundation vice president for planned giving, developed a close relationship with the Andersons through the years. Knowing that they were big fans of WSU athletics, he once asked Dr. Anderson why he and Darlene didn’t plan to attend a Shocker baseball tournament in Hawaii. Dr. Anderson’s reply was that, for the cost of the trip, they could establish another scholarship. And they did, Lamb said.

“Bob was a man of few words, but one would have been mistaken to believe that he didn’t have something to say. He simply allowed Darlene to share his thoughts,” Lamb said with a smile. “The most I ever heard Bob talk was at the 2010 event honoring them as recipients of the Fairmount Founders’ Award. While they were being recognized, Bob’s comments were focused on honoring Darlene. Yes, perhaps Bob was a man of few words, but he was also a man of great impact.”

The couple’s giving to Wichita State also included the All American Club, Shocker Golden Girls, Roundhouse Renaissance and the Marcus Welcome Center. With his wife, Dr. Anderson was a member of the WSU Foundation’s Society of 1895 and a Life Member of the Fairmount Society. Dr. Anderson was a life member of the WSU Alumni Association.

As a faculty member, Dr. Anderson was a professor of education administration and supervision in the College of Education. He was instrumental in creating the Field Research Services Division and used that as an excuse to obtain his pilot license so he could fly to all parts of the state to serve students and school boards. He worked with school districts to write grants, create bond issues, consult, advise and administer in-service workshops.

Dr. Anderson was born April 3, 1930, in Onawa, Iowa. He attended St. Olaf College for one year and transferred to the University of Iowa, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1952 and a master’s degree in 1953. He met his future wife in 1950 and they were married in 1951. He received his doctorate from the University of Nebraska in 1963.

Dr. Anderson is survived by his three sons: Stephen and his wife, Naomi; Kevin and his wife, Diana; and Brian, as well as seven grandchildren. A memorial has been established in his name through the WSU Foundation.