Dr. Rodney Anderson, who taught a variety of political courses at Fresno State since 1996, died unexpectedly Tuesday, March 6. He was 46.
The announcement to campus was made by Dr. David Schecter, the department chair, who added that Dr. Anderson died “peacefully at his home.” The cause of death has not been announced.
Students were notified via email and Schecter began meeting with the classes to talk about Dr. Anderson’s death and to explain that the department is developing a plan to cover his classes. Schechter also advised the students that private, confidential counseling services are available through University Health and Psychological Services at the Student Health Center.
A native of Geneva, Neb., Dr. Anderson earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in 1988 and his doctorate at Ohio State University in 1994.
Schecter said Dr. Anderson taught 200 students in five classes every semester and was known for taking on a variety of classes and enjoying a wide range of interests. Among the subjects he taught were introductory American politics, statistics, political behavior and comparative politics.
He also was a volunteer mentor for students as part of the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program.
“Dr. Anderson was caring, compassionate and dedicated,” Schecter said. “His students really meant the world to him. He was one of the most committed professional teachers I have ever met and we all will miss him very much.”
Schecter said students were emotional upon hearing the news. Sophomore political science major Narek Avetisyan, said he and his friends “were devastated.” Avetisyan said, ”He had an objective style of teaching, which gave us impartial information.”
“He was a man of great knowledge and kindness. He was a professional in class and a friend outside of class,” added Avetisyan. “He may be gone, but his personal and professional knowledge will remain with us.”
“It was obvious how passionate he was for his work,” said senior political science major Sarah Rin, who will graduate in May. “His presence in the classroom will be greatly missed.”
Schecter said Anderson’s other loves, apart from politics, were baseball and football. “He often attended the College World Series, loved the Ohio State Buckeyes, Fresno State Bulldogs and trivia games,” Schecter said.
“We express condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and students and ask that you keep them in your thoughts,” Schecter said in a message sent to the campus community.
The Rodney Anderson Memorial Scholarship has been established. Those wishing to donate in his memory, should write checks made out to California State University, Fresno Foundation, with a Rodney Anderson Memorial Scholarship notation, and send them to the College of Social Sciences, 5340 N. Campus Drive M/S SS91, Fresno, CA 93740-8019.
Information regarding a memorial will be forthcoming, he said.