I am thrilled to have been awarded the inaugural Enid H. Anderson professorship, generously gifted to the English Department by UW-Madison English alum Dr. Erling A. Anderson (1949-2018) in honor of his mother, Enid H. Anderson. Professor Anderson was a scientist and tenured faculty member at the University of Iowa specializing in cardiovascular research, but he always valued the importance of his liberal arts education. In 2015, when tenure was taken out of state statute in Wisconsin, Erling Anderson wrote to the Capital Times:
Tenure exists for many good reasons. […] most importantly, the honor and stability of tenure ensures the retention of superior faculty. When a top-tier university such as UW-Madison abandons tenure, other universities can almost overnight build stellar departments by hiring departing UW-Madison faculty. […] My belief in the honor of a named tenured professorship is reflected by my signed commitment to fund in my estate two named professorships in honor of my mother and father and a named research fund in memory of my sister who died at the age of 15. These are not trivial commitments. And believe me, as a tenured professor and lifelong academic, I do not fund “lazy professors.” I love UW-Madison. It is a precious jewel. My UW-Madison degree in English set me off on a path to a tenured position based on a solid foundation in the liberal arts I never would have imagined.
I wish I could thank him in person for his generous and outspoken support of the English Department.