The first time I had the privilege of hearing Professor Anderson lecture, he made the comment, “You can’t go kicking the beehive and then asking the bees for honey.” It was one of the most brilliant, absurd things I’d ever heard, and I’ll never forget it. I’m sure there are many more “Anderson moments” out there as everyone who has met Professor Anderson—whether in the classroom, the courtroom, or the Carlie-C’s down near Buie’s Creek—has certainly met one of the Greats. He has been a mentor, educator, and advocate for Campbell Law students for almost three decades, and his legacy runs deep. For this reason, Professor Anderson was recently honored at the 33rd Annual Campbell Law Phi Alpha Delta’s (PAD) James Iredell Banquet on March 28th as the 2012 recipient of the Justice James Iredell Award.
The Justice James Iredell Award is presented annually to “an individual who has made significant contributions to Campbell Law School and the legal profession.” I stand in agreement with Alex Couch, presenter of the award and Iredell Banquet Coordinator, and the Campbell Law chapter of PAD that Thomas Anderson is a true exemplar of this and truly worthy of this recognition.
Thomas “Tom” Anderson is a graduate of the University of Alabama. After receiving his JD cum laude from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, he practiced law in Birmingham, Alabama. He then went on to become a Freedman Fellow at Temple Law School, earning an LLM degree in Legal Education. Finally, in 1982, Professor Anderson arrived in Buies Creek, North Carolina at the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, at the age of 34, where he began a legacy that has included instructing over 3,000 Trial Advocacy and Civil Procedure students, and coaching nationally ranked competitive trial teams.
The love and appreciation his students have for Professor Anderson is evident in the fact that he has been a two-time recipient of the Outstanding Professor Award, as voted on by the entire Campbell Law student body. He is known among his students for his belief and encouragement, his motivation, and his sincere dedication. Perhaps most importantly, he is known as the keeper of Mungo, the invisible mischief-maker on his shoulder whispering all the things we really want to do in the courtroom, but for fear of contempt, must restrain ourselves. Alex Couch put it best in presenting Anderson’s award, “It is a rare professor who can emanate a perfect combination of respect, encouragement, and constructive critique in teaching the law. His enthusiasm is truly contagious. He believes in his students.”
From his ponytail to his legal tales, he has maintained a position among the student body as a favorite and has consistently been a true advocate for the student body.
It is not just his students that appreciate what Professor Anderson has meant to the school. In a touching video tribute, Professor Jim McLaughlin shared with all those in attendance at the Iredell Banquet his respect and appreciation for all of Anderson’s years of service to the law school. Additionally, Professor Anderson was the first recipient of the distinguished Dean’s Award for teaching.
In 2011, after 29 years of devotion, teaching, and mentoring, Professor Tom Anderson retired. His loyalty to the law school did not end there, however. He has continued to teach sections of Trial Advocacy and remains involved with the school whenever possible. It is a relief to know that future generations will still have the privilege of seeing Professor Anderson walk the halls of our cherished institution. Upon retirement as a full-time faculty member, Anderson was named Professor of Law Emeritus by the Board of Trustees of Campbell University.
While his contributions to the students of his beloved school are many, he has been an outstanding member and asset to the legal community as well. He received the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers’ Charles Becton Award for Outstanding Teaching of Trial Advocacy. In 1989, Professor Anderson was a founding member of the North Carolina Legal Education Assistance Foundation—the nation’s first statewide loan repayment assistance program for attorneys working in public service—where he served on the Board of Directors until his retirement. Anderson has also taught in the Emory Law School Kessler-Eidson Trial Techniques program and instructed Continuing Legal Education courses in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
Past recipients of the Justice James Iredell Award have included two United States Senators and eight Justices of the North Carolina Supreme Court. Anderson will join sixteen other professors of Campbell Law as well in receiving this award.
It is an understatement to say that Professor Anderson has left a legacy at Campbell School of Law. He is a part of the fabric of the school and is as much a part of our institution as the very walls that make up the building. That is why there are few, if any, more deserving of the Justice James Iredell Award than Professor Anderson.
Sincerest congratulations are extended to Professor Tom Anderson in this accomplishment and for all of his achievements, both within Campbell’s walls and outside of them. Anderson has touched many lives and is well-loved and well-respected by all who have met him.