James D. Anderson, an educational thought-leader, has been chosen to serve as Denison’s keynote speaker for the 177th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 19th.

Anderson is dean of the College of Education, the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor of Education and affiliate Professor of History at the University of Illinois College of Education.  

Anderson’s studies have focused mainly on the history of U.S. education, with a concentration in the history of African American education in the South. This includes the history of higher education desegregation, the history of public school desegregation as well as the history of African American school achievement in the 20th century.

His book, “The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935,” won the American Educational Research Association outstanding book award in 1990 and is currently the senior editor of the “History of Education Quarterly.”

Anderson has served as an expert witness in a series of federal desegregation and affirmative action cases. He served as an adviser for and participant in the PBS documentaries School: “The Story of American Public Education,” “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow,” “Forgotten Genius: The Percy Julian Story,” and “Tell Them That We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities. He was elected to the National Academy of Education in 2008.

In 2012, Anderson was selected as a Fellow for Outstanding Research by the American Educational Research Association and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. In 2013, he was selected Center for Advanced Study Professor of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois. Anderson received a bachelor’s from Stillman College, as well as a masters of education and a doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

During the ceremony, Anderson will be recognized by receiving an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.  

Denison University President Adam Weinberg said “Denison is proud to recognize the contributions of [this] exceptional educator. The work of a liberal arts college prepares our students for a lifetime of success by giving them the skills, values, habits, networks and experiences needed to launch into successful lives. James has been a witness, historian and agent of change in the civil rights movement.  [This] is the finest example of mentors and leaders in higher education. We are delighted to honor their accomplishments.”

As  Denison seeks to set a leading example in the world of higher education, we turn to individuals such as Anderson for academic as well as personal inspiration in courageousness and perseverance- qualities the Class of 2018 will take with them as they prepare themselves for what lies beyond the Denison bubble.