It paid off, according to Anderson, who came to Mary Washington the same year as Hegmann. The two worked together until Anderson’s retirement in 2006. One of his hardest tasks as president, Anderson told the crowd, “was raising enough money to keep up with Ed’s ideas.”
“He was very much involved in the planning and construction of this building, and it shows,” Anderson said.
President Hurley had also worked with Anderson. He was pleased to honor the 23-year president’s “extraordinary service” with a building that would continue his legacy.
“The Anderson Center will mean so many things for the students of the University of Mary Washington – today and through all future years,” Hurley said. “In addition to its use as an athletic event venue, the Anderson Center will play a vital role as the site of many other significant events in the life of the University.”
UMW Historian William B. Crawley, who served as assistant to Anderson, said such occasions will bring together the community and the University, making it a perfect tribute to the building’s namesake. “To Bill, the University was not the ivory tower of intellectual aloofness,” Crawley said, “but the open door of community involvement.”
The professor emeritus of history and American studies said that Anderson’s commitment to and building of the UMW
athletics program were among his greatest accomplishments. Opportunities for student athletes will “take a quantum leap with the opening of this wonderful facility,” Crawley said.
Just as the dedication ended on that hot August afternoon, storm clouds gathered. The Anderson Center’s first official student gathering, 2011 Honor Convocation, was supposed to follow. But minutes before the event, just as nicely dressed students and robed faculty were making their way down Campus Walk, a thunderstorm struck. It was so long and so violent Honor Convocation was delayed until the following week.
And that was the Anderson Center’s second natural disaster.