The honorees ranged from a college junior, all the way up to a pair of 90-somethings Saturday night at Anderson University’s President’s 2004 Annual Appreciation Dinner. Harold, 97, and Hilda Anderson, 94, both received the William P. Riethmiller Community Partnership Award in front of friends of the university. “The William P. Riethmiller Community Partnership Award was named to honor individuals who labor to build understanding and partnerships between the university and the Anderson community; individuals who have demonstrated throughout their lives a deep commitment and vision for the community of Anderson, its citizens, and Anderson University,” AU President Dr. James L. Edwards told the crowd. For the Andersons, it was their devotion to their community as life-long residents of Madison County, and using their education and talents to benefit others.
Harold Anderson grew up in Lapel and became a basketball star on the Lapel High School and Indiana University teams, Edwards said. He then coached the Markleville High School boys team, during which the team one its only sectional championship.
Anderson decided to change his career path and attended the Indiana University Law School — and later practiced law in Anderson for 63 years.
Anderson said he enjoys being involved in the community because he has lived his whole life here and has made many friends.
“I made a living here. I’ve practiced law for 63 years. I don’t know any other lawyer who practiced that long,” he said with a smile. Anderson retired in 1999, when he was 93 years old.
Hilda Anderson, who grew up in Anderson, graduated from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and returned to Anderson to teach piano and perform, Edwards said. Anderson taught piano for 40 years to students ranging from 5 years of age to 65, he said.
“Harold and Hilda have used their talents in many ways to serve their community and country,” Edwards said. “As a couple, they served as precinct committeemen. Harold served as the chairman of the Republican Party and also work as the county prosecutor for one term and as the Anderson City attorney during the Noland Wright administration.”
The couple was thrilled to receive the award and be honored at the dinner.
“When you’re approaching 98, things don’t register. It took longer,” Harold joked. He added that his goal is to reach 100 years of age. “I’m very happy, very proud.”
The Andersons were surprised when they got a phone call two weeks ago informing them of their award.
“We found out two weeks ago,” Hilda said. “We were pretty surprised, overwhelmed.”
“It’s quite an honor to have the William Riethmiller Award,” Hilda Anderson said. “He was quite a dedicated worker. He did his job well. He loved his work. We feel very honored.”
Also honored at the dinner was AU junior Matthew A. Kardatzke, a bio-chemistry and pre-med major, with a GPA of 3.7. The student received the Madison County Medical Society Distinguished Scholar Award.
“It’s truly an honor to receive such support. It’s tremendous that my hard work is not in vain,” Kardatzke said. “Receiving this is like receiving a giant bear hug rather than a childhood pat on the back.”
— Writer Melanie Hayes is a reporter for the Anderson Herald-Bulletin. Visit the local daily publication at www.theheraldbulletin.com