Hamline News

The Power of Place


Last fall Carol Anderson ’46 and her husband, Dennis, pledged $5.3 million to launch Hamline’s new University Center. Anderson knows the power of place—her own Hamline experience began with a trip to the Twin Cities from her home in Fort Yates, North Dakota, in the 1940s. “I rode in with my uncle who was taking a load of grain to Saint Paul, and he [dropped] my friend and me off on Snelling Avenue,” she recalls. “We heard that there were colleges there—in particular Macalester—and we stopped to look around, but I didn’t like what I saw at all.” The two walked up the street to Hamline where Anderson was met with a more appealing view. “I loved the looks of Manor House.” That was all it took. She enrolled at Hamline in the fall of 1942 just as the United States headed into World War II.

Sobered by War, Enlivened in the Classroom

Hamline was a different place back then. The majority of male students had been drafted and the women all lived in Manor House, where they ate together with the women’s dean at specific times every day. No one was allowed out after 10 p.m., and the social scene on campus was staid. “We were serious because we knew we were at war, and we wanted to have a job when we got out,” she said. “We didn’t have dates, of course, but spent our free time making fudge and just staying up late visiting. It wasn’t all bad.”

Anderson felt enlivened in the classroom and declared a major in social work. “I guess it just happened naturally,” she says. “I didn’t know [about the field] before Hamline, but I learned that’s where I belonged.” Upon graduating in 1946, she took a job at the tuberculosis sanatorium in Minneapolis, where she counseled the family members of patients. After three years at the sanatorium, she set her sights on a job at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, but her plans soon changed. “Mr. Dennis Anderson came along,” she says.

Farm Life and Politics

Carol and Dennis—a native of Red Wing, Minnesota, Hamline’s first home—were on the same path from the start. They met while riding the same streetcar to work in Minneapolis every day. “We both got on at the front of the car, got off at the same spot, went to breakfast in the same restaurant, and went to work a block apart,” says Anderson. “So we got to know each other.”

They married in 1949 and in 1951 moved to South Dakota to help on Carol’s family farm. From there, farming became a way of life for the Andersons. They lived in Rapid City in the winters, but were “suitcase farmers” in the summer, living in an old farmhouse in Onida without running water. Dennis also helped found the South Dakota Wheat Growers Association and the American State Bank in Rapid City, while Carol stayed active in women’s issues and politics as a candidate for the state legislature. She credits her Hamline professors for laying the foundation for her continued service and involvement in social issues. “The skill of Hamline’s professors played a role in making me a college-educated woman during the trying years of World War II,” she says.

Return to Hamline

In 1993, former Hamline President Larry Osnes invited Anderson to sit on the Board of Trustees, an appointment she happily accepted and served until 2001. The appointment reinvigorated her relationship with Hamline and later inspired the Andersons’ $5 million pledge for the University Center and an additional gift of more than $3 million to establish the Carol E. Anderson Endowed Chair in the Social Sciences. “Education is our goal,” she says. “That’s where our money does the most good.”

Anderson hopes the new center will inspire the same immediate confidence in Hamline for prospective students as Manor House did for her some 60 years ago. “Hamline has been very much a part of our lives,” she says. “Through the Red Wing connection for Dennis, and for me it was way to a college education as I journeyed into adulthood. We are grateful to give back.”

The original story appeared in the January edition of the Oracle, www.hamlineoracle.com.

By: Serri Graslie ’10

We were deeply saddened by the news of Dennis Anderson’s passing during the printing of this magazine. Dennis was a champion of education and a dear friend to Hamline. As President Hanson said in a tribute to Dennis at his funeral, May 4:

“Through his lifetime of providing for his family, for the livelihood of others, and for the future of young people who would benefit from his and Carol’s generosity, Dennis Anderson set a meritorious example for us to dream big, live modestly, and enjoy the many small pleasures in life.”

We offer our condolences to Carol and family. An obituary for Dennis can be found on page 39. To read President Hanson’s tribute in its entirety, visit www.hamline.edu/dennisanderson.