Alumna stays connected by supporting Augustana students

Doris Anderson's roots run deep on campus, and the newly-established Phil and Doris Anderson Alumni Award is just one she stays connected to these roots.

Sydney Tancowny - 27 November 2019

Because of Doris Anderson, student leaders at Augustana can be supported in perpetuity thanks to the Phil and Doris Anderson Alumni Award. Doris was also recently inducted into the Wall of Fame at École Camrose Composite High School.

For Doris Anderson, Augustana is in her roots.

Many know that Camrose Lutheran College (now the University of Alberta's Augustana Campus) was founded in 1910, but Doris' connection is more personal: her great-grandfather and both of her grandfathers attended the first organizational meeting of CLC. The tradition of family involvement at CLC continued with her parents (both attending and her father a part of the first graduating class) and Doris and all four of her siblings studying at CLC. Even outside of learning, her family remained personally connected. Her parents were close friends of Chester Ronning, and Doris recalls many visits from him and his family during her childhood.

With all of these connections it's no surprise that Doris considers being an Augustana alumna as part of her identity. "It gives you a sense of belonging. You're a part of it-you've been a part of it for your whole life." While she lived in Camrose (only a few blocks away from campus) she made sure to attend every Chester Ronning Centre event, and attended as many other campus events as possible, from concert choirs and drama performances to academic lectures.

Now living in Calgary, Doris still looks for ways to stay connected to her roots and stay true to her identity. One way she has done this is by creating the Phil and Doris Anderson Alumni Award.
Named after her and her late husband, this award champions student leadership and volunteerism-and by endowing her award she has ensured it will impact students in perpetuity. Having previously helped in the creation of the Hendrickson Endowment on campus after the passing of her parents and sister, Doris already knew the benefits of an endowment. Additionally, Doris has been able to represent an award established by her classmate living in Texas and has met student award recipients over the years. Through these personal interactions, Anderson was able to see the importance of such awards and what it meant to these students.

To Doris, it's about connection. Connection to her family, connection to her identity as an alumna, connection to Augustana students. When looking back to her own time on campus, she remembers the personal moments-putting on events for her classmates, attending club activities and looking out her dorm window in order to tell when her date had arrived to pick her up. She remembers reading through her classmate's comments in the 1945 yearbook (her graduation year, and a yearbook that was never printed due to budget cuts during war-time) and she still remembers what was written about her: "If the young man in the grey Chevy doesn't capture Doris' heart she may become a home economics teacher." Even though it was never printed-she achieved both.

Although Augustana no longer prints yearbooks, this award creates a legacy in another way, allowing students to make their own memories on campus, well into the future. The Phil and Doris Anderson Alumni Award celebrates its first recipient this year, and with this award, Doris remains close to her roots.

This piece originally appeared in the Fall 2019 CIRCLE alumni magazine.