Published on Feb 28, 2013
2013 EXCELLENCE IN DIVERSITY AWARDS
Friday, February 15, 2013 4:00 p.m.
William G. Anderson
College of Osteopathic Medicine
Individual Award: Lifetime Achievement
Following his service in World War II, William Anderson never expected to become a Civil Rights leader. He planned to practice osteopathic medicine. But when racism and segregationist policies blocked the young African American doctor from treating patients in his native rural Georgia, he founded the "Albany Movement," a coalition to end racial segregation. With his wife, Norma, he marched shoulder-to-shoulder with Martin Luther King, Jr. and other icons of the Civil Rights movement, enduring personal attacks, threats, arrests, even a cross-burning at his home.
For the last half century, Dr. Anderson has dedicated his life to the principles of equal opportunity, social justice, and advocacy for the underserved and disenfranchised. Throughout his long career as a physician, professor, role model, and special adviser to the dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, he has given dozens of lectures, recruited and mentored countless minority students, and worked tirelessly to enhance graduate medical education.
Among his many achievements and affiliations, Dr. Anderson received the Rosa Parks Freedom Award in 1962 (presented by Martin Luther King, Jr.), became the first person of color to serve as president of the American Osteopathic Association, and, today, remains a life member of the NAACP, a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and a trustee of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit.
Perhaps his most enduring legacy to Michigan State University is the award- winning annual speaker series, "Slavery to Freedom: An American Odyssey" -- featuring preeminent civil rights scholars who visit East Lansing during Black History Month to lecture and teach about the past, present, and future of the movement.
For the lives he has touched with his healing hands and heart, for his profound contribution to the betterment of our community and the world, there is no one more deserving of the Lifetime Achievement award than Dr. William G. Anderson.