Winston-Salem’s own Rudy Anderson Jr. took home top honors for his contributions as an employee of Winston-Salem State University.
Anderson, the director of Internal Communications at WSSU, is the recipient of the 2013 Erskine B. Bowles’ Staff Service Award, an honor that is bestowed upon just one of the UNC system’s 32,000 permanent, full-time staffers annually.
“I’m honored, I truly am, but I’m also very humbled by the recognition,” the city native said. “…The Erskine Bowles Award is by far the most significant achievement I have received.”
Anderson, a WSSU employee since 1997, accepted the honor Tuesday, Oct. 15 during the fall UNC General Administration Staff Assembly in Chapel Hill. The father of two was lauded for his many contributions to the community both on and off the school’s campus. The former educator lists his involvement as an original mentor in the Real Men Teach program, which encourages, mentors and supports black males in their quests to become educators, among his proudest accomplishments.
“One of the issues that I found in the school system when I was teaching was that there was a woeful dearth of African American males … and that had profound effects on some of the young people who were coming out, because they had no role models to look up to when they were going through school,” he noted. “We are doing through this program what we set out to do, and that is to put more African American males in America’s classrooms. We know that when they leave here, they are ready to take on that responsibility and somebody else is going to benefit from having them in the classroom.”
Anderson also served as a founding member of Simon’s Green Acre Community Garden, a community based initiative in the backyard of the SG Atkins CDC. Since its inception four years ago, the garden has grown to include 10 independent community gardens and yielded thousands of pounds of fresh produce for area soup kitchens and food pantries.
“That’s been a real joy to see that happen and to be able to share fresh foods,” he declared.
Off campus, Anderson has served as a community mentor at Easton Elementary School and at the Senior Academy program at Carver High School and volunteered on the Boards of Directors of Exchange/SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now), the Forsyth County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council and as board president for the Flonnie Anderson Theatrical Association (FATA), which his mother founded. Anderson has also lent his talents as a performer to the NC Black Repertory Company, the Twin City Stage and as member of the Twin City Choristers, which his father, Rudy Anderson Sr., helped to found. The Hampton University alumnus said giving back has always been a priority for him.
“You’re not here by yourself, and part of the reason I think the Lord created us was to help each other whenever we can,” remarked Anderson, a life long member of Wentz Memorial United Church of Christ and active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. [pullquote]“That’s kind of been my mantra, especially with the young people – they need our help. If more adults got involved in young people’s lives, we might not have some of the problems and issues that we have today. Sometimes it’s just as simple as that – somebody paying attention can turn a kid’s life around.”[/pullquote]
In her nomination of Anderson, WSSU Staff Senate President LaTonya Amos, budget manager for the Division of Student Affairs, cited his legacy of community service and broad-based impact on the local community.
“Mr. Anderson has shown his dedication to the development of our future with no less than a spirit of excellence. His infectious smile and thunderous voice has captured the attention of many through delivering mass voice messages for the WSSU community,” Amos wrote.
She added this week, “I believe in giving credit where credit’s due … He’s pretty much showed up and showed out for the staff members here. I’m just happy that we won, and I’m happy that he’s able to be recognized in the true fashion that he’s well deserving of.”
Though he is honored to receive the accolade, Anderson said the greatest reward is simply knowing that he is helping to make a difference in the lives of others.
“I do what I do, and it’s not for the recognition or anything – it’s just what I do,” he declared. “If there’s a need and I can fill it, then that’s what I’m going to do.”