Don Anderson

For most athletes who graduated from Rice and then served in World War II, they did it in that order, but not Don Anderson. In 1943, still in high school, he enlisted in the US Navy's V-12 program and was immediately placed on inactive duty and told to go home, graduate and they would call him. Upon his graduation from high school in Joliet, Illinois, not having heard from the Navy, he entered the University of Wisconsin on a football scholarship and was just getting settled when he got his call from the Navy to report to the V-12 program at Illinois State Normal University.

     Soon after that, Don was transferred to the Navy's NROTC program at Rice, completed the program and was commissioned, and then in 1946, placed on inactive status in the US Naval Reserves. After considering returning to the University of Wisconsin, he rejected that choice, having met the girl of his dreams, Evelyn Burke in Houston, and also made many friends there, and so he stayed at Rice. Don played football at Rice in 1945, 1946 and 1947. As Southwest Conference champions in the 1946-47 season, the Owls went on to beat Tennessee in the 1947 Orange Bowl. Playing both offense and defense, he intercepted a pass near the end of the game when Tennessee was charging ahead, and shut them out of the possibility of winning. He was a master of interceptions and as of 2007, is still a co-holder of the "number of receptions in a game", with three against A&M in 1947. He is also shown below offensively, swinging around left end with the throttle wide open to pick up twelve yards in Rice's 18 to 13 upset of the University of Texas.

     After graduation, he was drafted by the Green Bay Packers, but opted not to accept their offer. He did, however stay in involved in football, officiating high school, Lone Star Conference, Southwest Conference and Intersectional games.

     As a student, Don was most active on campus and was Editor of the Thresher in the 1946-47 year. He also graded papers for Verne Simons in the Accounting Department and was President of his class in his senior year. He had also been President of his class in high school.

     Don's career was spent in the natural gas industry, beginning in 1948 with Houston Natural Gas, and then moving on to Fish Engineering where the project to build the pipeline from the four courners (New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah) to the Pacific Northwest, was getting underway. He was involved in the promotion and certification of the project and grew right along with it and upon its completion, he became a part of the operating company. The company's offices moved from Houston to Albuquerque in 1955 and then soon after moved the home office to Salt Lake City. When El Paso Natural Gas Company bought out PNW, he was moved to EP's home office in El Paso where he lived until he retired in 1984. Seeking a "year round climate", after retirement he and Evelyn moved to the Hill Country north of Kerrville to really enjoy life.

     He likes to talk about his memories, which are "the people" - the classmates, roommates, members of classes before and after the Class of 1948. "I remember the professors, the administration, the coaches and my teammates. I also remember many 'friends of Rice' that I was fortunate to meet. I remember the the rocks in shoes from the campus paths, the hedges, Sallyport, South, West and East Halls and the long lines at the phone booths . . . Dr. Davies' amoeba dance, Dr. Bray's throwing chalk at a wrong answer and the amused smile at a correct response . . . the midnight hamburgers at the bowling alley, The Thresher deadlines, the fall Saturday cheers and moans, beating A&M and Texas, the Southwest Conference Co-Championship and the Orange Bowl."

     A person of whom Bob Quin would have been justifiably proud, Don Anderson exemplified all of the qualities that earned him the Bob Quin Award, and about it he says, "I've been fortunate in receiving awards but none have made me as proud as having been awarded the Bob Quin Award. I have it framed and, other than a couple of team pictures, it is the only item that is displayed." Shown above at the annual athletic awards ceremony, is Gilbert Hermance presenting the Bob Quin Award to Don Anderson.

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