They came from all over the country, together for the first time in 10 years, to pay tribute to a man who meant so much to St. Bonaventure University.
They came, all 11 of them, to honor their dad — Dr. Kenneth Anderson.
A plaque in the name of Dr. Anderson was dedicated March 6 in a ceremony on the second floor of De La Roche Hall, the science building where Dr. Anderson was a biology professor for 34 years (1946-1980).
Dr. Anderson was chairman of the biology department from 1948 to 1968, and was influential in helping St. Bonaventure attain university status in 1950 when he established a Ph.D. program in biology, which was active for almost 30 years.
“Your father’s dedication provided a place of learning and development for hundreds of Bonnies over the years, and will continue to do so for Bonnies now and in the future,” Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., university president, said at the dedication.
Fr. Peter Schneible, O.F.M., assistant professor of biology, blessed the plaque with holy water.
All 11 Anderson children — six girls and five boys, all St. Bonaventure alums ranging in age from 55 to 72 — attended the ceremony. They came from Florida, Virginia, Indiana, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Clifton Park, Williamsville, Cattaraugus, Allegany and Olean. Many grandchildren came, too, as well as several close friends from the Olean area.
“As this very impressive gathering indicates, your family has deep roots in this place, and we are grateful for the myriad ways you each and all have touched Bona’s,” Sr. Margaret said.
Doc Anderson, as he was affectionately known, was at St. Bonaventure just two years before earning full professorship in 1948. Under his tutelage, 40 doctorates and many more master’s degrees in biology were conferred. He also served as dean of the School of Arts & Sciences from 1966-1969, and dean of graduate studies from 1969-1974.
Research was a hallmark of the biology department, with Dr. Anderson always seeking grants and fellowships to further his research studies and those of his colleagues.
Even after retirement, he continued to work as a professor emeritus — to lecture, to work with graduate students, and to pursue his scientific research for oil companies and refineries.
Dr. Anderson, who would have turned 100 on Dec. 21, 2014, died in 1995. His beloved wife, Agnes, to whom he was married for 53 years, died just five months before. They were longtime benefactors of the university and staunch advocates of Catholic education.
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