Smiles We Remember
If alumni were involved, Assistant Dean Emeritus Paul Anderson was “always around,” offering warm conversation or helpful connections.
He nurtured development, alumni, and public relations at what was then known as Baylor College of Dentistry. Anderson, 85, passed away Oct. 30 in Venice, Florida.
Then-Dean Richard E. Bradley recruited Anderson in 1983 from the American Dental Association in Chicago, where he’d served as assistant executive vice president of the American Fund for Dental Health. Bradley had a specific request for his new hire, according to Baylor College of Dentistry: The first 100 years.
“I don’t want a fundraiser. I want a friend-raiser,” Anderson said Bradley told him.
To that end, Anderson planned events for alumni throughout the state, recruiting key alums and expanding the Century Club concept to include higher levels of giving during his 10-year tenure. His team increased the number of dues-paying Alumni Association members from 250 to 3,000—an all-time high.
Anderson’s impact continued well beyond his retirement three decades ago, through the contributions of alumni whom he encouraged to accept leadership roles. One of these, Dr. Phillip Campbell, credits Anderson’s visit to his Huntsville, Texas, office as the spark for years of ensuing leadership at the dental college and the Baylor Oral Health Foundation.
“I would probably never have gotten involved with the Alumni Association, never been involved in the college’s board of trustees—which was very meaningful to my life—if he hadn’t come by,” Campbell says. “Paul was always positive; real pleasant. He didn’t put the hard sell on me to get involved.”
Anderson also worked with Campbell and Bradley to raise $1 million for the Robert E. Gaylord Endowed Chair in Orthodontics, the college’s first endowed chair.
“Paul was a special person to me and a special person to the school,” Campbell says. “It was an honor to know him and for him to guide me.”
Anderson is survived by his wife, Nancy, whom he married 57 years ago. A memorial service is scheduled Dec. 2 at 10:30 a.m. at the Sarasota National Cemetery in Sarasota, Florida. Memorial gifts may be directed to First Baptist Church Lakefront, 312 W. Miami Ave., Venice, Florida 34285.
Author’s note: I’m grateful for Paul Anderson’s lasting influence on my own life through my career experiences at the dental school. He hired me in 1989 as an alumni and public relations assistant, providing both support and autonomy as I acclimated. Though my responsibilities have expanded over the years, I’ve always appreciated the opportunity to communicate about the college’s exceptional people and programs. Paul was an encourager who occupies a warm spot in my heart.