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Alumni Spotlight

Regardless of the decade in which people attended Anderson, the College of Education (in fact, every college/school here) has consistently graduated alumni who are dedicated to serving the needs of others.

As an Anderson University alumnus from the Class of 2003, I absolutely love speaking with alumni from across the years. Their stories captivate me as I have noticed a thread that seems to run unbroken through them all, whether they took place in 1960 or 2020. Anderson has changed over the years: there are portions of campus where the buildings have stood since our founding, while there are other places on campus that have only just begun to echo the sounds of Anderson. Every alumnus may not have shared the exact same landscape, but there are common parts of their student experiences that remain constant throughout the years. The two themes I have heard mentioned the most are what Anderson did for them and what they in turn wish to do for others.

Recently I have had the honor of getting to know Marion Shaw, Class of 1971, and I was privileged to hear his story which again echoes those same themes. Mr. Shaw spent 37 years in the public education system of Horry County, with 34 of those years at Aynor High School, before officially retiring in 2012. However, his love for teaching, coaching, guiding and mentoring the next generation led him to pick up the mantle again; and since his “un-retirement,” he has served in various roles within the district office and seven other schools—making this his 47th year of service. He is currently serving within the Horry County Alternative School to continue mentoring and teaching students.

I had to wonder what motivates him to continue serving Horry County in all these various roles.

According to Mr. Shaw, “I feel my work ethic came from both my father and my maternal grandfather. My father was the son of two sight- impaired parents. His father was totally blind and his mother partially blind. He was an only child, and he never had a real childhood because he cared for his parents all his life. My mother’s father was a tobacco farmer in Aynor, South Carolina. I spent all holidays and summers on the farm, and there was always something to do from dusk until dark. From their examples, I developed a love for working, and I feel that I have a great deal of knowledge, common sense, and life skills to pass onto young people.”

That hard work led Marion to Anderson, which helped shape him during pivotal years of his development. In his words, “the nurturing environment at Anderson helped all of us to succeed. The professors were caring and willing to help anyone. They did not coddle us, but they gave us an extra push when needed. The entire faculty and administration were there for us. While we were at Anderson, the country was going through turmoil and change due to the Vietnam War. At Anderson we were sheltered from the ongoing chaos and that was a huge help. Again, professors such as Robin Kelley, Annie Tribble, Max Grubbs, William Tisdale, Henry von Hasseln, Dennis James, William Bridges, Everett Vivian and Blanche Holcombe showed by their actions that there is far more to teaching than just imparting knowledge. The influence of these folks helped me to understand that you have to develop a connection and relationship with students.”

Those lessons learned at Anderson—in the classroom and outside the classroom—can be credited for helping Mr. Shaw in his role as a public servant in public education for 47 years. Of course, he also credits his wife and fellow Anderson alum, Deborah Shumpert Shaw, Class of 1972. “I would never have made it without Deborah. She has stood by me for all of these years while also raising our family and teaching for 34 years herself,” he said.

I am thankful for alumni like Marion and Deborah Shaw who have “paid it forward” and are carrying forth the mission of Anderson University. According to the dean of the College of Education, Dr. Mark Butler, “The College of Education is committed to preparing our candidates to be builders of knowledge, values, and community, so they are equipped to change the world, one student at a time.” Regardless of the decade in which people attended Anderson, the College of Education (in fact, every college/school here) has consistently graduated alumni who are dedicated to serving the needs of others.

And I am thankful for those who support Anderson University with their time and talents so that we can continue to prepare the next Marion or Deborah Shaw for a calling in their chosen field. Long Live Anderson!

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