Cross-Cultural Connections

A Life of Remarkable Survival, Success and Impact

Emeritus trustee Bill Anderson has had life experiences that few can envision. A British citizen born in China, Anderson was forced to flee China with his mother in 1937, due to the invasion of Japanese armies. Four years later, while serving as a member of the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps, he was captured by the Japanese and was a prisoner of war for four years.

During this time, Anderson met George Haynes, a fellow POW who was the manager of National Cash Register, China. Both men survived their imprisonment, and, after the war, Haynes offered Anderson a position at NCR, as general manager of NCR’s Hong Kong office. Anderson accepted and excelled at the company, eventually becoming the president of NCR in 1972, CEO one year later, and chairman in 1974. He was the first international executive to head a major U.S. company, and did so with incredible success — bringing the company from a mechanical/manufacturing firm into the electronic age. At his retirement in 1984, the company was flourishing.

His role with NCR brought him and his wife, Janice, to Dayton — and they have been crucial to the vitality of the region, supporting numerous local organizations, including the University of Dayton. Serving on the University’s board of trustees from 1982 to 1991, Anderson helped lay the groundwork for the University’s prominence and growth. In addition, their support of international education at UD, including their recent establishment of the Anderson China Studies Fund, has proved pivotal in our ability to develop servant leaders who can succeed — and make a positive impact — in an ever-more connected world.

Such an extraordinary life journey — with an impetus to give back to causes near and dear to that journey — should inspire us all. “I believe that you should give back to society what you get from it,” Anderson said. He and his wife have certainly done that — and more.

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