William ‘Bill’ Anderson, 68, retired U.Va. clinical psychologist dies

9/9/2016, 6:12 p.m.
For more than three decades, Dr. William Henry “Bill” Anderson played a key role in providing mental health services for ...
Dr. Anderson

For more than three decades, Dr. William Henry “Bill” Anderson played a key role in providing mental health services for students at the University of Virginia.

During his 33-year career at U.Va., the Henrico County native was best known for providing individual and group therapy to students and for mentoring and training new clinical psychologists.

His family said Dr. Anderson considered his career in psychology to be a sacred vocation. He sought to connect his professional work with his religious faith, his family said, regularly opening his clinical sessions with a prayer: “Help me to know that You are here as I try to help this person. Keep me mindful that it is You I am serving.”

Dr. Anderson’s warm personality endeared him to many at the university, said Patricia M. Lampkin, U.Va. vice president and chief student affairs officer.

“A more gentle and loving person I will never know,” said Marcus L. Martin, U.Va. vice president and chief officer for diversity and equity. “Bill gave of himself mentally and spiritually to anyone in need. I will have lasting memories of his wonderful smile and kind words. Bill’s unselfish service and commitment to students, faculty, staff and community were unmatched.”

Retired from U.Va. in 2014, Dr. Anderson is being remembered for his contributions following his death Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Charlottesville. He was 68.

Family and friends celebrated his life Saturday, Sept. 3, at Four Mile Creek Baptist Church near his birthplace in Henrico.

As a child, he entered school in 1954 just months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down public school segregation and later was among the first African-American students to integrate Varina High School.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in psychology at Virginia Tech and his doctorate in the field at State University of New York at Stony Brook, he spent seven years as a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Returning to Virginia, he joined the U.Va. faculty in 1981 as an assistant professor and then in 1985 became an associate professor and director of training at the U.Va. Counseling Center. He became more involved in clinical work after the merger of the center and Student Mental Health in 1996.

Dr. Anderson’s professional associations included membership in the American Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, the Association of Black Psychologists and the American Psychological Association. He also was a fellow at Hereford Residential College.

He was active in civil rights and movements for peace and justice, including being an NAACP life member.

He also was a founder and president of the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice and served on the national executive committee of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, the National Council of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Peace Commission for the Episcopal Church.

Dr. Anderson was fluent in French and Spanish and was a music lover. He sang tenor in two Charlottesville choral ensembles, the Virginia Consort and Zephyrus, as well as the choir at Trinity Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, which he joined in 1981 and later served on the vestry.

He traveled to more than 15 countries on peace and singing missions, including Great Britain, Ireland, Nicaragua, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Russia, Hungary, Lithuania, Cuba, Libya and South Africa, where he stayed with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu for several days.

Survivors include his sister, Jacqueline A. Lawrence of Henrico.