Students gave Anderson his rewards
|For David Anderson, who
retired as dean of students, working with students proved to be the
most enduring reward of a 30-plus years career.
It’s easy to compile a list of
accomplishments for David Anderson during his 23 years at Binghamton
University, but ask him what was the most rewarding experience and he
doesn’t hesitate: working with students.
And not just advising or
counseling them, and in some cases disciplining them.He says, what he
enjoyed most was the chance to work with students on community projects
like Habitat for Humanity and riverback cleanups.
“There is so
much to be gained with identifying our common interests and sharing common
experiences and as a result getting to know each other better,” he said.
“Students begin to see us as people and not just administrators or
faculty. Community involvement or service are ideal vehicles for promoting
That genuine interest in students is
what made him a valuable member of the Office of Student Affairs, said
Rodger Summers, vice president for student affairs, who described him as
“the consummate professional.”
“David treated every student as if
they were his own children,” he said. “He really took an interest in them
as individuals and had a genuine concern for students.”
one of the 56 BU employees participating in the early retirement option,
officially ended more than 30 years in the SUNY system on November 28.
After earning his MS from SUNY Albany in 1971, he became a placement
counselor on the Albany campus, before moving to Potsdam as an assistant
director and then to Fredonia as director of career development. He came
to Binghamton in 1979 as director of the Career Development Center.
He took over a department that didn’t have interview rooms or
computers, both of which he corrected soon after he arrived. He carved
four interview rooms out of some lobby space and became the first in the
division to acquire a microcomputer and oversaw the development of a
mainframe application on job notifications.
On a statewide level,
he was also helping to shape career counseling, becoming the founding
president of the SUNY Career Development Organization, which helped
redefine what had been placement offices on many campuses.
was tapped as assistant vice president in 1984 and then asked to serve as
interim vice president for student affairs in 1989, helping the University
prepare for a visit by the Middle States Accreditation team and managing
10 budget cuts within a two- to three-year period. He was named associate
vice president and dean of students in 1991.
One of the primary
responsibilities as dean of students is the role as disciplinarian,
overseeing suspensions and expulsions, recommendations for psychological
and medical withdrawals, and recognition of fraternities and
He also oversaw the Career Development Center, the
Counseling Center, Health Services, International Student and Scholar
Services, Judicial Affairs, the Trio Programs and Services for Students
“I have had the incredible good fortune of
working with people with amazing talent, unbelievable dedication and a
phenomenal work ethic,” he said. “These are people who are so committed
and loyal to Binghamton University.”
He said one event that easily
demonstrates that commitment was the campus’ response to the measles
epidemic in April 1989. College campuses were closed across the country
following an outbreak of measles among students until they had vaccinated
those who weren’t affected.
“In 3 1/2 days we immunized around
10,000 individuals,” Anderson said. “To give you an idea of the spirit,
Gene Gilliand who was in charge of physical facilities, walked up to me in
the East Gym and said, ‘Tell me what you need.’ That was it. That was the
kind of wonderful cooperation we got from the campus and the
Other standouts on his list of accomplishments are the
Counseling Center’s response after 9/11, the accreditation of University
Health Services, the phenomenal growth in international students, becoming
one of the first campuses to have a written AIDS policy, and the push to
install automatic door openers on campus buildings.
He served on
numerous campuswide committees, including chairing the Child Care Task
Force which planned the Campus Preschool, as well as statewide
organizations, including the SUNY Faculty Senate, where he chaired a
symposium on student learning. In the community, he was involved in such
organizations as Habitat for Humanity, Planned Parenthood and the Crime
Victims Assistance Center.
He and his wife Patricia, assistant
director of computing services, plan to move to Vermont. They have two
children: Eric, who is a legal assistant to the Native American Rights
Fund in Boulder, and Kristin, a BU graduate, who works in public health
with the Congressional Hunger Center in Washington, D.C.
says he is leaving with no regrets. “Does that mean that every experience
I had was a truly positive one and I’d like to do it again,” he said. “No,
I don’t think so. Meeting parents at a police station, going to the
emergency room, going to funerals — there is some deep sadness that came
with this job, but it was part of my duty to deal with those situations
and I did it to the best of my ability.”
|December 12, 2002|
Volume 24, No. 15
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