Dr. R. Lester Anderson
Year appointed: 1961
Dr. Anderson first made his appearance at Marietta College in the fall of 1951 as a freshman student enrolled in the College's 3-2 Engineering Binary program, in which he planned to transfer to an engineering school after attending Marietta for three years. But his experiences here created a shift in his future goals and Anderson remained at the College for the entire four years, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1955 with degrees in mathematics and physics and earning entrance into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He attended Penn State University, where he was elected into the Sigma Xi Society as an associate member and served six years as an American Petroleum Institute Research Fellow. Upon obtaining a doctorate in 1961, he retuned to Marietta and joined the physics department.
From 1961 until his retirement in 2002, Anderson was deeply involved in many aspects of Marietta College, including serving as the chair of the physics department for the better part of 27 years. In addition to teaching an array of physics courses, he served on numerous committees and mentored hundreds of students and peers during his 41 years at the College. He was involved in establishing portions of the Faculty Handbook bylaws that dealt with evaluating faculty, tenure and review and he helped with the College's establishment of its Master of Arts in Education program.
During his career, he has been linked to organizations such as the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Physical Society, the Great Lakes Planetarium Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to name a few.
In addition to his work at Marietta, Anderson made it a point to include the surrounding communities in his efforts to emphasize the importance of science. He has brought many children's groups, including Boy Scout troops, to the William Gurley Observatory atop Mills Hall on clear nights to help young people explore the night sky. He has been a regular presenter for the Young Engineers and Scientists Field Day program and hosted observatory open houses for members of the campus and the outlying community during special astronomical events such as lunar eclipses and meteor showers.