November 2, 2011

Professor John Anderson Dies at 94

Print More

Prof. Emeritus John Anderson, invertebrate zoology, died Oct. 25 at the age of 94. Anderson, who taught from 1952 to 1979 and helped establish Cornell’s Shoals Marine Lab, specialized in echinoderms, commonly known as starfish.

“When I heard that Andy had passed away, I said, ‘There goes a gentleman and a scholar,’” said Prof. John Kingsbury, marine biology, who worked with Anderson at Shoals.

Anderson and Kingsbury first met at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., in the 1960s. In 1966, Anderson helped Kingsbury launch Shoals, a program that is still run by Cornell and the University of New Hampshire on Appledore Island, which is just off the coast of Portsmouth, N.H.

Kingsbury said he has fond memories of working with Anderson at Shoals. He said that Anderson was gentle and reserved, “scrupulously honest” and a “magnificent teacher.”

According to Kingsbury, Anderson’s involvement at Cornell was multi-faceted, and  he called his achievements impressive. Anderson, in addition to teaching invertebrate zoology, co-authored the textbook “General Zoology” while at Cornell. Anderson also chaired the Cornell Pre-Medical Advisory Committee.

Director of Shoals Prof. William E. Bemis ’76, ecology and evolutionary biology, took Anderson’s invertebrate zoology class as an undergraduate student at Cornell.

“Dr. Anderson was one of the most outstanding instructors I ever knew, and when I took invertebrate zoology with him in the fall of 1974, it was a pivotal experience in my undergraduate career,” Bemis said. “As director of Shoals Marine Laboratory, I am impressed by the long-term dedication that Dr. Anderson brought to Shoals, and his impact there remains strong and appreciated to this day.”

Anderson received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Southern Methodist University in 1938 and an M.S. from New York University in 1942. After serving as a lieutenant in the Navy during World War Two, he completed his Ph.D. at NYU in 1947, and joined the Cornell faculty in 1952.

A memorial service and celebration of Anderson’s life will be held Sunday, Nov. 6, at 2 p.m. in Sage Chapel. According to the University, memorial do­­nations can be sent to Hospicare and Palliative Care Services of Tomp­kins County or Shoals Marine Laboratory.

Original Author: Danielle Sochaczevski