Anderson University today marked the 20-year tenure of President Evans P. Whitaker and First Lady Diane Whitaker during the University’s annual Founders Day Convocation as faculty, staff, students and friends of the University celebrated the Whitakers’ two decades of service and leadership.
To mark the occasion, the State of South Carolina is inducting Dr. Whitaker into the Order of the Palmetto, granting him the state’s highest civilian honor.
In addition, United States Senator Tim Scott and United States Representative Jeff Duncan have offered remarks for the Congressional Record as part of the 118th Congress in celebration of Dr. and Mrs. Whitaker’s 20 years of leadership to Anderson University. Finally, the South Carolina General Assembly this month adopted resolutions sponsored by Rep. Mark Willis (District 16/Greenville & Laurens Counties) and Rep. Anne Thayer (District 9/Anderson County), also in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Whitaker.
“Dr. Whitaker is an amazing leader. He dreams big and brings those dreams to fruition; and he’s got a team of supportive people around him,” said Mary Anne Bunton, chair of the Anderson University Board of Trust. “He is a true visionary.”
Dr. Whitaker is the 12th president of Anderson University, having assumed the post in November 2002 alongside his wife, Mrs. Diane Whitaker.
When the Whitaker family arrived, roughly 1,600 students attended the private Christian institution in Anderson, South Carolina. Today, more than 4,200 are enrolled, making Anderson University South Carolina’s largest private university and, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the 16th fastest growing regional university in the U. S. over the last decade. In addition to growth in numbers, Anderson’s academic selectivity and reputation have appreciated to the extent that, according to the Princeton Review, Anderson is among the top six more academically selective universities (public and private) in South Carolina.
Under Dr. Whitaker’s leadership, and the stewardship and support of Mrs. Whitaker, more than $100 million has been invested in campus facilities, including a 90,000-square-foot student center, a 60,000-square-foot library, five residence halls, a cancer research center, a student business incubator, a Homeland Security academic facility, a health professions graduate center within the Greenville University Center, and numerous athletic facilities; campus acreage has quadrupled from 68 in 2002 to more than 400 today. Anderson University manages and is a major partner in creating the Rocky River Conservancy, a 200-acre wetlands and wildlife preserve near the campus.
In short, Anderson University is one of the most respected Christian institutions of higher education in the United States. A highly selective, comprehensive, and entrepreneurial Christian university, Anderson University is among U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Regional Universities South,” and is on the publication’s “Best Value,” “Best Undergraduate Teaching,” “Best First-Year Experience” and “Best Online Programs” lists. Anderson also is ranked #25 nationally for Student Engagement by the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education; is a “Best College” among institutions of higher learning in the southeast by The Princeton Review; is a four-time Apple Distinguished School; and is on the honor roll of the prestigious Great Colleges to Work For program.
President Whitaker also serves as professor of management, leadership & organizations. An accomplished musician and vocalist who has toured worldwide, Mrs. Diane Whitaker is an admission counselor at Anderson University and serves on the boards of GAMAC, the Salvation Army and the United Way.