During an interview for the University of Missouri Advancement’s, “Mizzou: Our Time to Podcast,” School of Journalism alumnus and 18-year ESPN anchor John Anderson revealed what he loves about Mizzou and what keeps bringing him back to campus.

One of Anderson’s most recent visit to Mizzou was to attend to his duties as Chair of the Jefferson Club Board of Trustees, a donor group that serves as an advisory committee and focus group for the university. Anderson says coming back to Mizzou sparks his memories of how and where his education began, back when he was a high school student debating between attending the University of Wisconsin or Mizzou.

Though his interest in journalism was sparked at Mizzou, Anderson says the deciding factor in choosing between the schools came down to whether or not he was welcomed on the track team. While the University of Wisconsin turned Anderson down for another candidate, Coach Bob Teel, who coached men’s track and field at the time, welcomed Anderson to come on down and join the team. Anderson says that Coach Teel’s welcoming message was what sold Mizzou to him, and he soon grew into the journalism program and everything else Mizzou had to offer.

“I think about how I was only here about four and a half years, which in the timeline of my life isn’t very long,” Anderson said. “And yet, I keep coming back because of my attachment to this place. There’s some sort of coming-of-age, whether it’s from a professor, studies or a friend. These things become part of who you are.”

Anderson says that after graduation he quickly discovered how prestigious a degree from Mizzou is out in the professional world. Anderson recalls how, in a 2007 commencement address to Mizzou journalism graduates, he told them how nobody would ever ask to see their degree because future employers would see the quality of their work and trust them to do great things. Anderson also said that Mizzou students will always stand out from the crowd in a pile of resumes or at interviews, and that his own career was greatly improved from the relationship he has with Mizzou.

Claiming that the benefits one receives from Mizzou far outweigh the cost to attend, Anderson says he donates to the university to help current students. He believes that for students here now, it’s their time to shine and investing in Tigers will always yield rewards, even when those Tigers graduate.

“That’s the thing about alma maters,” Anderson said. “People come not just for the football but because they are tied to the place. I think that’s because the stage of life you are in from 18 to 22, and how much your years at college form the person you become.”