Published on the 20th of February in 1938 in the Richmond Times Dispatch out of Richmond, VA
Dean ‘Ole’ Tells
Origin of Name
Brigadier-General James A. Anderson, dean of Virginia Military Institute, solved the mystery of his nickname last night.
Here to address the V.M. I. Club of Richmond, General Anderson was greeted by hearty friends as Ole Anderson, as usual. He had been called Ole since the days he was a rat at the Institute, so nobody thought much about it. But nobody knew why, because he certainly wasn’t old.
The nickname was a matter of speculation in Richmond when the general was State PWA director several years ago, but the mystery was never solved until after his speech last night.
Came the showdown.
A Swede by General Consent “When I first arrived at the Institute,” the general explained, “another rat asked me my name. I told him “Then you’re a Swede,” he said. I denied that. “Well,” he insisted, “you ought to be a Swede. Out in California where I come from everybody with that name is a Swede.”
“So form that day to this I’ve been Ole Anderson. It didn’t make any difference that my name is not spelled Andersen.”
In his talk before the club, General Anderson outlined the work of General Charles E. Kilbourne, the new superintendent, and declared the Institute is entering a period of progress under his administration unprecedented in the history of America’s military institutions.
The club afterwards adopted a resolution commending General Kilbourne’s policies. General Anderson was introduced by Kirkwood Adams, newly-elected president of the club.