Commencement 2003 Honoree









Arthur O. Anderson


Arthur O. Anderson, M.D.


Dr. Anderson's remarks at Commencement are now available on his website.


With chemical warfare a very recent concern of Coalition Forces in Iraq and SARS still in the news from China to Canada, Wagner College is proud to honor one of her own who is a senior scientist, pathologist, and ethicist at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Maryland; and whose research in basic immunology on improving the effectiveness of vaccines against biological warfare agents is one of the reasons we proceeded with confidence into Iraq.


Although Arthur O. Anderson is proud of his research accomplishments, as well he should be – having contributed 79 original articles published in pathology, immunology and molecular biology journals – his most important responsibility is the protection of the rights and welfare of human volunteer subjects as Chief of the Office of Human Use and Ethics at the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases.


A native of Staten Island, he grew up in Westerleigh not far from the Willowbrook State School. As early as the late 1950’s, news articles and stories told by neighbors who worked at Willowbrook had a big impact on his feelings about the rights and welfare of research subjects, especially those with limited autonomy.


A biology pre-med major at Wagner College that resulted in his acceptance to the University of Maryland Medical School, courses in religion and philosophy were required at Wagner regardless of one’s major and he came under the influence of Dr.’s Kegley, Unjhem, Hackman and Nickander of the Religion and Philosophy Department. He took more than the courses required as it was in that department that he learned something about the diversity of human beings and what they value, and was introduced to the tools used by ethicists to make informed decisions.


In his own words, “These experiences on Staten Island and at Wagner College proved more valuable than anything learned in medical school, or during my residency in pathology at Johns Hopkins, in helping me to set up the first Human Use Committee at USA Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases for review and approval or disapproval of all research protocols involving humans as research subjects.” The success of his office and the program he organized is regarded as, “the moral model for ethical research involving human subjects.”


A guest lecturer at dozens of universities and conferences both here and in Europe, his work has been featured on the A&E History Channel Cable TV network, on ABC News World News Tonight, and on NPR, National Public Radio.


Recently Colonel Arthur O. Anderson was honored as the recipient of the Army Order of Military Medical Merit. His alma mater wishes to honor him today, not solely for his achievements, but also as an exemplary role model for the class of 2003, of which he today becomes a member.