The Anderson University Town and Gown association honored Tom Bruce, executive director of University Relations and Alumni Affairs, Saturday with the 2009 Wanda Savage Award.
Bruce received the Wanda Savage Award in honor of the longtime member who passed away in November 1998. He is the eighth person to receive the distinction. Wanda’s husband, Russell, desired to find a way to remember his wife and established an annual award in her honor.
Bruce said he achieved the award with the help of friends and mentors, including Savage.
“Mrs. Wanda Savage was a friend and exemplified a community spirit, which was so very inspiring to me and others,” he said. “I am grateful to Anderson University and the many mentors along my 33 years that have encouraged me and exemplified what it means to serve. Persons in my life like Shirell Fox, Robert Reardon, Robert Nicholson, and James Edwards have all encouraged me to serve the greater community.”
A native of Santa Cruz, Calif., Bruce completed studies in business administration at Cabrillo College in California. He continue his studies at Anderson College and completed a degree in business administration in 1971. Bruce and his wife, Marlyne, returned to California where he began working for a bank. Participating in their management program he became a bank branch manager after one year at the age of 23.
Bruce soon became interested in the field of mass communications. He completed a master of science in mass communications in 1977 from the University of California at San Jose, where he majored in communications and public relations. At that time only a handful of colleges offered programs in public relations. He would later complete a second master’s degree in business with a concentration in marketing at Ball State University in 1987.
Following graduation, Bruce accepted a position from the late Robert H. Reardon, president of Anderson College, now University, to serve the school in the area of communication.
During his time with Anderson University, Bruce has had the honor of serving with three of the four presidents of Anderson University as well as significant leaders of the institution. His longest and latest role has been in the Advancement Division, where he now serves at the executive director of university relations and alumni affairs. In this assignment, he oversees a wide-range of programs including public relations — electronic, print and mass media, church relations, and alumni programming.
During the years, Bruce has served many community boards and committees. His service has included the Leadership Academy of Madison County, Anderson Fine Arts Center, Boys Scouts of America, Wilson’s Boys & Girls Club, Saint John’s Hospice Program, Junior Achievement, and Madison County Management Club.
He has also served the Mayors’ Human Needs Commission, Anderson Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, Anderson YMCA, United Way Drives, WIPB-TV, and Visiting Nurse Health Care.
Bruce said he was fortunate to be associated with Anderson University and the city of Anderson.
“I truly believe that I have received far more than I have given,” he said. “I have been the beneficiary of making so many wonderful friends along the way.
“For all the challenges, there are as many great opportunities in our future. Community service opens a world of possibilities. I feel grateful for having had so many service opportunities.”
— Story posted with permission of The Herald Bulletin.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,800 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.