When Chain Gang entered professor Joseph Anderson’s international management class Thursday night, he thought he was getting a hard sell from students peddling dedicatee buttons to raise funds for their club. Then he looked at the button and saw himself staring back.

“I am completely surprised,” he said, as his students applauded and cheered that Homecoming would be dedicated to their professor.

Even after letting it sink in over night, Anderson said the honor “totally came out of the blue—something I didn’t see coming, and didn’t expect. I’m still totally unsure how I got to be selected.”

His colleague David Albritton knows why. “To know Joe is to love him,” he said. Albritton is an associate professor of management who teaches MBA courses with Anderson.

“Joe is one of the most passionate teachers I have ever met. He definitely cares about his students and he does everything in his power to ensure they succeed. He is also a great colleague, an absolute team player and a consummate ‘good guy.’”

Anderson joined NAU in 1992 and has served in many roles in addition to teaching business and management courses including as associate dean of graduate programs and MBA program director.

“He is the epitome of dedication to his students and the institution,” said Craig Van Slyke, dean of the W.A. Franke College of Business. “Joe never lets anything stand in his way when it comes to helping his students and NAU.”

Anderson’s sense of humor, engaging teaching style and genuine love for his job has not gone unnoticed throughout his career at NAU. He was selected seven times as the Outstanding MBA Teacher for the Academic Year between 1992 and 2003, an honor bestowed by his students. He was selected for both the Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher Award and the Bilby Memorial Award for Outstanding MBA Teacher in 1998-99 and earned the NAU President’s Centennial Teacher of the Year Award for 1999-2000.

“An important part of my identity is connected to NAU, as a professor, a colleague among colleagues, and as a teacher among students and other teachers,” Anderson said. “To be selected for this honor is a delight, an affirmation, and also a motivation to continue along this path. I am deeply honored to be recognized as a member of the NAU community that has been so important to me over the last 22 years.”

Anderson again will be honored, this time as dedicatee during Homecoming Week. The annual Homecoming Dedicatee Banquet is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, at the High Country Conference Center. Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for non-students and are available through the Central Ticket Office. Cash, check, dining dollars and JDE accepted.

The Homecoming dedicatee tradition dates back to 1936 through which students select an NAU faculty or staff member whom students feel has demonstrated exceptional service to the university and interest in its students.

Anderson will take his place in the Homecoming parade in downtown Flagstaff at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, surrounded by students, colleagues and the community that has meant so much to him for more than two decades.