PRESIDENT RETIRES: Eric Anderson, a veteran historian, professor and college administrator, will complete nine years as president of Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas, when he retires this year. [PHOTO: SWAU]

Adventist News

Mark A. Kellner

Online Content Editor

Eric Anderson, Southwestern Adventist U. president, to retire

Served nine years at Texas school

Eric Anderson, a veteran historian, professor and college administrator, will complete nine years as president of Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU) in Keene, Texas, when he retires this year.

Anderson, who spent 30 years as a professor and department chair at church-owned Pacific Union College in Angwin, California, before coming to Southwestern in 2005, will return to Napa County, California, in retirement, the school said in a statement announcing Anderson’s retirement. A search for a successor is underway, a spokeswoman reported.

Speaking to a regular meeting of SWAU faculty and staff on January 14, 2014, Anderson said, “My wife and I believe that God called us to Keene and we have been richly blessed during our years here.”

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

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

When he came to the school, located about 30 minutes south of Fort Worth, Texas, Eric Anderson noted a family connection: “My family actually has ties to this school,” he told the Southwestern Union Record in 2005. “My great-grandfather, Charles C. Lewis, was at one time president of Keene Industrial Academy, the predecessor to SWAU.”

Today, Anderson said he was pleased with the school’s recent accomplishments.

“I’m leaving the University in good hands,” said 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,” he added.

Faculty reaction at the school, according to the SWAU statement, was laudatory: According to religion teacher Bill Kilgore, Anderson brought a “unique blend of scholarship and spirituality” to his leadership. Another teacher, Andrew Woolley, director of the Honors Program, credited Anderson with having a “vision of the benefits of a liberal arts education.”

Anderson holds 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.

According to the SWAU news release, the school has offered Christian education since 1893, today featuring 67 academic programs including business, nursing, and education, three masters programs, and diverse ways for student involvement on campus and abroad.

-- with information from Darcy Force, Southwestern Adventist University

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