Politics alum sponsors student
A politics major at Cornell and a self-described “political junkie” today, trustee Steve Anderson ’75 has worked in Washington, D.C., for 32 years. Cornell brought him to the capital, and now he’s taking the opportunity to open that door for a current student.
Anderson, president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, is sponsoring a Cornell Fellow this summer with his association.
“I learned about the Cornell Fellows program as a member of the Cornell Board of Trustees, and thought it was something I could sponsor and possibly touch a life of a Cornell student,” he says. “It was a unique opportunity to step forward and do something for a student.”
Anderson was paired with sophomore Audrey Saunders, who will be the Anderson Fellow in Public Affairs in June and July. “She had an interest in government affairs and wanted to see the other side of the government affairs equation, the role that national trade associations play in public policy advocacy,” says Anderson, whohas been in trade association leadership for 27 years, including as CEO of the National Restaurant Association and the American Frozen Food Institute. In 1980, Anderson was a candidate for the U.S. Congress before he became an association executive.
“I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if somebody hadn’t taken an interest in me at Cornell. My dad was a custodian and my mother was a nurse so I did not have a lot of political contacts. Because of Cornell I had the opportunity to go to London and work for the House of Commons in the fall of 1973, and to work for Congressman John Anderson as an intern in January of 1975,” he says, recalling that he pumped gas to pay for his airfare to Washington, D.C.
During his internship, then-alumni director Paul Scott ’29 arranged for Anderson to stay with Dr. Louis Maxwell ’23, which led to a job on the Hill when he graduated from Cornell. Now, perhaps, Anderson can fill a similar role.
“I am a firm believer in mentoring,” he says, “and this is a good opportunity for Audrey to experience the same things I experienced.”