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Dr. Allan Anderson, Professor Emeritus

Dr. Allan AndersonDr. Allan Anderson was born in 1922 in New Zealand.  He grew up in England, and in 1936 moved to the United States.  In 1944, he received his Bachelor of Arts in History and General Science from Washington Missionary College.  Later, in 1951, Anderson obtained a Master of Arts in English Literature from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.  Upon graduating, Dr. Anderson worked as a social worker for the Connecticut State Welfare Department.  He then moved to New York where he began working on a doctorate in religion at Columbia University and the Union Theological Seminary.  He completed his doctorate in 1960.

In 1962, Dr. Anderson came to San Diego State College as an assistant professor of philosophy.  In 1969, he helped to form the Department of Religious Studies.  He became a professor in that department, and specialized in Eastern Religions. Dr. Anderson also conducted a series of interviews with Jiddu Krishnamurti, which aired on KPBS.  Dr. Anderson received the California State Distinguished Teaching Award in 1970, and in 1982 and 1983 the Alumni Association awarded him with the Outstanding Faculty Award.  He also formed Metanoia in La Jolla, a self-transformation study group. 

Dr. Anderson retired in 1985, becoming Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies.

Oral History

Download the PDF transcript.

Dr. Anderson's oral history documents his teaching philosophy, his love of language and literature, and his interests in Eastern philosophy and the wisdom tradition. Especially noteworthy are Dr. Anderson's readings of two poems from his children's book of poetry titled, Songs from the Mifflinger Sea and a Little Cove of Nonsense. Dr. Anderson also describes his ideal student-teacher relationship, and his teaching methods.

Interview digitally recorded by Susan Resnik, Ph.D on July 17, 2009.

Image credit: Dr. Allan Anderson, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, University Archives Photograph Collection, Special Collections and University Archives.

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