Charles W. Anderson, Ph.D
1934 - 2013
Pensacola has lost a fine scholar, profound thinker and wonderful teacher, as we note the passing on April 10th, of Dr. Charles W. Anderson.
Charles and Jean, his wife of nearly 58 years, first spent winters here on the sound side of the Beach and then moved permanently from Madison, WI., in 2002. They designed their home to provide large views of the water and several good spots for reading. They loved canoeing and bike riding and quiet outdoor activity. Two years ago they moved to Azalea Trace, with their beloved cats.
He took up active volunteering with the University of West Florida and became a charter member of its then-new Leisure Learning Society, for which he taught many classes and served on the curriculum committee during its formative years. His admirers for his leadership and teaching skills are legion.
Charles received his B.A. Degree from Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA., in 1955, his M.A. from the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD., in 1957, and his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, in 1960. By 1967 he had become full Professor there and built a world-wide reputation as a Political Scientist, especially for his work in political economy. He became a leading authority on the political economies of Mexico, Latin American countries and Spain. In 1983 he was appointed to the endowed Hawkins chair of Political Science at the University.
Dr. Anderson published extensively in political science, including five books, and later focused on political philosophy and liberal education, including the books: Pragmatic Liberalism; Prescribing the Life of the Mind; and A Deeper Freedom. His awards and honors are extensive, as is his list of scholarly publications and invited lectures delivered around the world. In 1988 he received an honorary Doctorate from his and Jean's alma-mater, Grinnell College.
But Charles was versatile, and helped the University develop a wide-ranging Integrated Liberal Studies program, which he chaired for several years. His lectures on the political development of Western Civilization are now on line at the U of W's alumni web site and remain engaging and essential.
Charlie leaves behind a legacy of great teaching and profound thought, and he is missed by a multitude of friends and colleagues, and former undergraduate and graduate students and teaching assistants, and his much loved wife, Jean. Testimonials have poured in, remarking on his scholarship and his humanity. Here are two:
A LLS student here said of him: "He was so good at communicating his vast knowledge in such an understandable way. (I think the Athenian Agora in the Golden Age may have been like this.) More than that, he was so humble and kind. He made it seem that it was his privilege to teach us and also to learn from us. I'll always remember his comment on honesty. He said that there were very few circumstances where he would not tell the truth. One was that if it would do harm to that person. What a pragmatic balance of idealism and kindness that was! He will be missed!"
A colleague from his Wisconsin days had this to say: "For me, my interaction with Charlie in discussions, writing, and teaching together were seminal in my own intellectual growth and our years together at Wisconsin were my high point there. Beyond the academic, Charlie was a very caring, thoughtful, and supportive individual who was always prepared to give of himself to others. He was a wonderful friend and colleague and will be greatly missed."
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Published in Pensacola News Journal on Apr. 20, 2013