Dr. Norman Anderson, CEO of the American Psychological Association, distinguished scientist and graduate of UNCG’s master’s and doctoral programs in clinical psychology, will receive an honorary degree during the 2013 UNCG commencement ceremony. Anderson will also deliver the 2013 commencement address.

The UNCG Board of Trustees recommended in March that Anderson receive the honorary doctorate.

Spring commencement will take place Friday, May 10, at the Greensboro Coliseum. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. Currently, 2,726 candidates for undergraduate and graduate degrees have applied for May graduation.

Dr. Norman Anderson

Dr. Norman Anderson

“I am honored to be asked to serve as the 2013 Commencement speaker at UNCG,” Anderson said. “My education at UNCG laid the foundation for my life’s work and I am pleased to be asked to share a few thoughts with the new graduates.”
“Dr. Anderson is a native son,” said Chancellor Linda P. Brady. “He grew up in North Carolina and earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from public universities in this state. We are honored to welcome him back and acknowledge his outstanding contributions to scholarship and national leadership on understanding the relationship between physical and mental health, on health disparities, and as a strong advocate for interdisciplinary research and health care. What a wonderful representative of all successful UNCG alumni.”

Anderson has enjoyed a wide-ranging career as a leader in the fields of psychology and health behavior, first as a scientist and tenured professor, and later as an executive in both governmental and nonprofit sectors. He earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from NC Central in Durham. After earning advanced degrees from UNCG, he served on the faculty of Duke University and later at the Harvard University School of Public Health.

A former associate director of the National Institutes of Health, Anderson also was the founding director of the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research. He currently is serving his 11th year as CEO of the American Psychological Association, the nation’s largest organization for scientific and professional psychology, with 134,000 members including researchers, educators, clinicians and students. Anderson is the second-longest serving CEO in the 121-year history of the organization.

“Dr. Anderson is one of the most distinguished alumni of UNCG’s doctoral program in clinical psychology,” said Dr. Timothy D. Johnston, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UNCG. “His research has made important contributions to our understanding of the links between physical and mental health, especially in minority populations, and in advancing our understanding of the important role of psychological and behavioral factors in health more generally. We are very proud of his many accomplishments and are pleased that he has maintained his ties with UNCG over the years, most recently by serving on the board of the UNCG Excellence Foundation.”

Anderson is well-known for his research and writing on health and behavior, and on racial and ethnic health disparities. In addition to publishing dozens of scientific articles, Anderson is the author and editor of several books, including serving as editor-in-chief of the two-volume “Encyclopedia of Health and Behavior,” as co-editor of “Interdisciplinary Research: Case Studies From Health And Social Science,” and as co-editor of “Critical Perspectives on Racial and Ethnic Differences in Health in Late Life.” He currently is editor-in-chief of APA’s flagship journal, American Psychologist. With his wife, writer P. Elizabeth Anderson, he co-authored a book titled, “Emotional longevity: What really determines
how long you live.”

In addition to his important contributions to scientific literature, Johnston noted, Anderson has proven to be a strong and effective advocate at the national level for the importance of the behavioral and social sciences in understanding health and disease.

For his research, service and leadership, Anderson has received a number of awards from scientific societies and universities, including three honorary doctorate degrees. In 2012, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences.

Anderson is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the Society of Behavioral Medicine and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. He is past-president of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

Anderson is an appointed member of the first National Academic Affiliations Council for the Department of Veterans Affairs, which provides a forum for joint planning and coordination between the department and the nation’s health professions, schools and universities. He serves on the National Advisory Council for the National Institute on Aging at NIH and the board of directors for the American Psychological Foundation. He is a member of the Trans-NIH Health Disparities Strategic Plan Priority Setting Group and previously chaired the National Research Council’s Panel on Understanding Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in Late Life. Anderson has served as president of the board of directors for the Starlight Children’s Foundation of Los Angeles and currently is a foundation trustee.

He is a Greensboro native and the son of the late Drs. Charles and Lois Anderson, former co-pastors of United Institutional Baptist Church. He also is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.


By Michelle Hines