He was a student, he was a friend and he was passionate about the country he loved: China.
Chinese major Frank Anderson, 22, was studying abroad with the Ole Miss Chinese Flagship program when he died on Saturday, Oct. 1, in Shanghai.
Originally from Winter Park, Florida, Anderson was finishing his Capstone Year in China and was enrolled at Nanjing University.
“Frank Anderson was a lover of life. He had an unmatched enthusiastic way about him that would brighten a person’s day with a simple conversation,” friend and classmate Jack Pickering said. “His smile was contagious and had the ability to fill a room with pure joy just by his presence. Although his time was cut short, he lived life to the fullest. Frank’s future was boundless; however, he was already a success in everyone’s eyes.”
Pickering said Anderson’s journey to Ole Miss began when he joined a Mandarin Chinese class at his boarding school, Culver Academy. His first year of class, Frank did not earn an A or B, but he was determined to learn the language, even after his teacher advised him to drop the class.
“Most people would have taken this criticism and given up. But, you see, Frank was not like most people,” Pickering said. “Instead, Frank chose to be tutored all summer long to enhance his understanding of the difficult language.”
Pickering said Anderson came back the following school year and not only proved his teacher wrong, but made such an impression that he earned a scholarship to study abroad in China the next semester.
Anderson’s passion for China also led him to become the Ole Miss chapter founder of Global China Connection, a program designed to connect and build relations between young Chinese leaders.
“Frank knew no stranger and made an impression on so many peoples lives,” Pickering said. “Though Frank may not be here in body, I know his zeal for life will be carried out by all that knew him. He will be missed dearly, but his legacy will always live on.”
Former classmate William Kneip said Anderson was a character with the biggest smile.
Kneip said Anderson was not someone to hand down the baton of passion for public policy and politics. Rather, Anderson was at a dead sprint when he chunked that baton down the track.
“That’s just who Frank was,” Kneip said. “He had already made such an impact around the world, and that’s saying something at our age.”
Kneip said Anderson spent four years at Ole Miss living and working nonstop toward his goals to further connect China and the U.S. both culturally and through policy, but he never lost sight in being a true friend and brother.
“We mourn and celebrate Frank’s sense of life and living, but we know it’s our turn to take that baton and argue with passion, purpose and civility, speak with charisma and truth, turn words into actions and love one another endlessly,” Kneip said.
Ole Miss officials are assisting members of Anderson’s family and will share details regarding arrangements and services as this information becomes available, according to the university.
Anderson’s cause of death is currently under investigation.