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Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson, Wisconsin’s deputy adjutant general for Army, received the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s Distinguished Alumnus Award this weekend in recognition of his service and leadership.

Anderson is a 1986 graduate of UW-Stevens Point’s College of Natural Resources, with a bachelor’s degree in Water Resources.

“UWSP provided an environment for me to learn about myself, my strengths and weaknesses,” Anderson said. “It fueled my desire to continually learn — I really have taken on a philosophy we must live a lifetime of learning and keep our minds open to new ideas, thoughts and perspectives.”

UW-Stevens Point created its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1969 as part of the university’s 75th anniversary celebration. Since then, only 96 of more than 70,000 alumni have received this award.

Anderson enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in 1983. After transferring to the Wisconsin Army National Guard and attending the Wisconsin Military Academy, he received his commission as a second lieutenant in 1985. He credits UWSP for the critical thinking skills he’s relied on throughout his career.

“As soon as you close your mind to innovative thoughts you might as well be extinct,” Anderson said. “I believe the number one lesson learned at UWSP was the importance of collaboration. To some people that may seem contrary to normal military operations but as military leaders move up into the executive ranks of the organization it is probably one of the most important skills to have.”

Anderson reflected on the challenge students and Soldiers alike face in today’s busy world. “Finding a balance in their life is extremely important,” he said. “Work, study, play, and family are all important. My philosophy is not to let any one of these areas completely overtake the others.”

This can be especially difficult for Guard members who are also students today, Anderson said.

“For those Soldiers in college who are eager to start their careers I am excited for them but also caution them to find a healthy balance and then keep it,” he said. “Do not compromise your integrity or values as they are the foundation of you as a person and ultimately will shape you as a leader/father/mother as well.”