Anderson University celebrated the 104th year since its founding in the annual Founders Day Convocation on Wednesday, February 11.
The University honored one of its graduates, Dr. Jeffrey Deal with the Alumni Achievement Award. Dr. Deal, a physician and inventor who has helped battle disease in impoverished nations around the world, was the logical choice for the Liberian government last year when it sought to battle the dread disease Ebola. Deal has invented a robotic disinfection machine, called the TRU-D (Total-Room Ultraviolet Disinfector), which is manufactured by the Lumalier Corporation of Memphis, TN. The device uses ultraviolet light to kill harmful bacteria in the hospital room setting. It is unique in that it kills (including the most resistant viruses) under objects, behind machinery and anywhere they might be within the room.
In addition to his work in battling infection and disease, Deal worked for 17 years as a board-certified otolaryngologist in private practice in Charleston. When the loss of much of the vision in one eye due to retinal disease kept him from performing microsurgery, he shifted his focus to other areas of interest, including mission work and the study of anthropology. “It worked out for the best,” he says. Today, he serves as the director of health research for Water Missions International; a nonprofit, Christian engineering organization that serves the water and sanitation needs of people in developing countries and disaster areas. He and his wife, Hart, live in Charleston and have four children.
In accepting his award, Deal credited Anderson University for changing the direction of his life after he came to the school to play basketball. He discovered faith on the Anderson campus and has pursued mission work since that time.
Dr. Sinclair Lewis delivered the Founders Day address. A retired minister, Lewis has served The United Methodist Church in many areas on the state and jurisdictional levels. He is best known in South Carolina, however, as the driving force behind Palmetto Boys State, the premier leadership development program in the nation. Helping to guide one of the nation’s largest chapters here in South Carolina, Dr. Lewis has worked with the most promising young high school leaders in our state for more than 57 years. He has chaired the Boys State Committee for the Department of South Carolina twice for a total of l9 years and has served as the Secretary-Treasurer for 43 years. Four years ago, Dr. Lewis approached Anderson University about partnering with Palmetto Boys State as the new home for the 1000 participants in the prestigious summer conference.
Lewis, who has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities from AU, challenged the students in attendance to learn and appreciate the history of AU. He credited the leadership of the university for creating a dynamic institution that makes a great contribution to the quality of life in the Upstate.
“When my wife and I were looking for a place to retire seven years ago,” he told the audience, “we chose Anderson for a number of reasons, chief among them being Anderson University. We knew of its excellent reputation in music, and that was very important to us.”
Dr. Lewis has also been honored by the State of South Carolina with The Order of The Palmetto.
Founders Day was created to honor the visionary Anderson area leaders whose desire for a college in Anderson and generous support led to the establishment of what is now Anderson University some 104 years ago.