Anderson University Presidents
Timeline of AU Presidents
John A. Morrison - 1923-1958
Robert H. Reardon - 1958-1983
Robert A. Nicholson - 1983-1990
James L. Edwards - 1990-2015
John Pistole - 2015- present
Born in the Ozark region of Missouri, John Arch Morrison taught public school for seven years before accepting a position as professor of homiletics and assistant principal at Anderson Bible Training School in 1919. In 1923, he assumed full responsibility as principal and when the name was changed in 1925 he was elected president. Throughout his tenure as president he guided the college through two major events: the first accreditation process and the Great Depression. His effective, distinguished, and sacrificial leadership was instrumental to the survival of the college through difficult times. After thirty-three years as president, John Morrison retired from Anderson College. He was president from 1925 to 1958.
Robert Reardon grew up closely connected to Anderson College. After attending Anderson public schools, he got his undergraduate degree from Anderson College, a masters degree from Oberlin College, and a doctorate degree from Vanderbilt University. In 1947, he came back to Anderson College as an assistant to the president. In 1958, following Morrison’s retirement, Reardon was elected president. For the next twenty-five years, he guided the university through the tumultuous 1960s and the college’s rapid expansion as a result of doubled enrollment. In 1983, Reardon retired as president serving a total of twenty-five years from 1958 to 1983.
Born in Minnesota, Robert Nicholson toyed with the idea of being a railroad engineer, but ultimately took a different path that led him to employment at Anderson College. Although he only served as president for eight years, Robert Nicholson had a significant impact on the university as a professor, dean, and vice president before assuming the presidency in 1983. Through his tenure as president, he facilitated the name change from Anderson College to Anderson University, which ultimately happened in 1987. In 1990, Robert Nicholson, known as “Nick” to many, retired from Anderson College. He served as president from 1983 to 1990.
Before serving as president, James Edwards was a pastor at Meadow Park Church of God in Ohio. Immediately before that, he was the director of Church and Alumni Relations for Anderson College from 1972-1975. In 1990, he returned to his alma mater, Anderson University, as the fourth president. Under his tenure, he led the university through restructuring and capital improvements. Upon his retirement, he was the longest serving president of Anderson University and, at the time, the longest serving college president in the state of Indiana. He was president from 1990 to 2015.
John S. Pistole
As the son of an Anderson College Professor, John Pistole graduated as an undergraduate from Anderson University. He went on to get a degree from the Robert Mckinney School of Law at IUPUI. He practiced law until joining the FBI in 1983. He worked his way up the ranks in the FBI eventually becoming the Deputy Director and the Head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). In 2015, he returned to his alma mater, Anderson University, to serve as the fifth president. During his tenure, he guided the University through the Covid-19 pandemic and expanded National/Cyber Security programs. He is currently the president of Anderson University.
Callen, Barry L. Guide of Soul and Mind: The Story of Anderson University. Anderson: Warner Press, 1992. Print.
"James Edwards" Folder, "Collections of Photographs of Individuals", Anderson University and Church of God Archives. Accessed March 29, 2021
"John Morrison (President)" Folder, "Collections of Photographs of Individuals", Anderson University and Church of God Archives. Accessed March 29, 2021
"John Pistole" Folder, "Collections of Photographs of Individuals", Anderson University and Church of God Archives. Accessed March 31, 2021
"Robert Reardon" Folder, "Collections of Photographs of Individuals", Anderson University and Church of God Archives. Accessed March 29, 2021
"Robert Nicholson (President)" Folder, "Collections of Photographs of Individuals", Anderson University and Church of God Archives. Accessed March 29, 2021
Strege, Merle D. The Desk as Alter: Centennial History of Anderson University. Anderson: Anderson University Press, 2016. Print.