For more than two decades, Franklin J. Anderson was a familiar, friendly face to University of Houston students. Sadly, UH said goodbye to Anderson this week. The longtime instructor and staff member passed away.
Anderson taught courses for UH’s African American Studies (AAS) Program and directed the University’s Challenger Program.
Many AAS students found themselves in Anderson’s courses including African American Experience Through Theater. A veteran stage professional, Anderson contributed many personal insights on the industry during his lectures.
Audiences across the country were familiar with Anderson’s work, which included the national tour of Thomas Meloncon’s play “The Diary of Black Men.” He also acted in several films including “A Gang Land Love Story” and “Waters Rising.” His writing credits include the horror film “Street Tales of Terror.”
His commitment to theater inspired him to create UH’s Black Images in the Media Conference and Africana Aesthetics Conference.
“I thought it would be great to take his class,” said Jo Anne Davis-Jones, communication manager in UH Enrollment Services and UH alumna.
Davis-Jones had met Anderson while they were students at UH. As an actor herself, she appreciated the opportunity to learn from a professional like Anderson.
“Watching this consummate actor at work was an eye-opener in black history and theater,” she said. “The experience in his class left a lasting and indelible mark on my love of the theater.”
In addition to his passion for performing, Anderson also was dedicated to helping UH students succeed. As the leader of the University’s Challenger Program, Anderson worked to support students facing physical and financial challenges. He also contributed his energies to trying to spotlight UH’s academic resources to minority students. Collaborating with the University’s Black Leadership Network, Anderson helped create a minority student recruitment initiative titled The Event.
Anderson also was a UH alumnus. He earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and a master's degree in social work from the University.
Memorial services will take place on June 6 at Jones Memorial United Methodist Church (2504 Almeda Genoa Road). A wake will begin at noon followed by services at 1 p.m.
UH also lost another member of its Cougar family. Charles Woodson, who served in UH’s student recruitment for 24 years, also passed away earlier this week. Woodson’s efforts in connecting with prospective Coogs and his involvement with UH’s Black Leadership Network will not be forgotten.
Funeral services for Woodson begin at 9 a.m., June 6 at New Faith Church (4315 W. Fuqua St.).