AU maintains a historical relationship with the City of Anderson

Lighting the Path logo- Anderson University Centennial 1917-2017

Anderson University has long been a partner with the City of Anderson in a variety of ways over the last 100 years. The partnership has proved to be valuable for both parties, since the university works to promote the city to its students, and the city works to promote the university to its citizens. Especially throughout the last several years, the partners have accomplished great mutually beneficial projects in the arts, architecture, and community relations.

In 2001, The Crystal Arch was dedicated at the City of Anderson building after a long period of design and construction. Five years earlier, the city began working with Arlon Bayliss and Jason Knapp, both professors of art at Anderson University at the time. Bayliss had previously designed the Helios statue on Anderson’s campus.

The professors set out to design the artwork as a sort of “gateway” to the city and soon found that they would need a lot of help. Several AU alumni worked with the project, which consists of 360 glass crystal cubes inscribed with various dates and names connected to the community, along with fiber optic lights run through them. It was not just AU alumni who assisted the professors, though. “Every time a challenge arose, we wondered who we could find to help. And every time, we found someone in the community who indeed had the solution,” said Knapp at the dedication.

The Anderson University Flagship Center can be easily seen off of I-69 exit 22, but it is not just known for its visibility. This facility, completed in 2005, hosts several professional development opportunities. State-of-the-art conference centers with video conferencing equipment fill the center, as well as classrooms for programs directed through AU’s Falls School of Business. The 10-month Residential MBA program operates out of the Flagship, with several apartments for its students.

While these projects have affected the partners in big ways, the university also contributes to the community in many smaller ways throughout the academic year. The purpose of several campus ministries and activities is to assist the city’s schools, nonprofit organizations, and the community at large. AU students involved with Study Buddies tutor children in local shelters and after-school programs. The T.E.A.M. (Teenage Encouragement and Mentoring) program empowers AU students to serve as a spiritual and life mentor for struggling local high schoolers in need of one-on-one attention. Operation Foundation is an organization that focuses on getting to know the people in Anderson through community service projects hosted for a week every spring.

The city has also worked with the university on seemingly small projects that have a big impact. In 2012, the city sought to translate their brochures for bus schedules into Spanish to accommodate Anderson’s growing Hispanic population. Dr. Tim Fox, professor of Spanish, chose to incorporate the project into his advanced Spanish conversation class, where the students must complete a service project that relates to the language. “When this brochure request came up, it isn’t exactly what they usually do, but it was a fantastic opportunity for students,” said Fox. The opportunity also benefitted the city, as they did not have to pay for the translation service.

Anderson University and the City of Anderson have grown together over the past 100 years. The support of the city helps the university gain more publicity in the area, while the support of the university helps the city meet the ever-changing needs of its citizens. As we reflect on AU’s Centennial, we find ourselves very thankful for this mutually beneficial partnership.

Anderson University is a private Christian university in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, Colleges of Distinction, and The Princeton Review. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Anderson University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business and theology.

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