Pete Anderson ‘87, MS’95

Assigned Reading: Pete Anderson

UW–Madison senior lecturer Pete Anderson ’87, MS’95 returned to the UW in the mid-1990s following a career as a registered dietitian, a role in which he conducted nutrition counseling in hospital, outpatient, and public-health settings.

“Coming back to UW–Madison was an easy choice,” Anderson says. “I’ve always loved the UW, with its rich history and tradition, beautiful campus, and great students. I don’t know what could beat teaching [there].”

Anderson takes the skills he learned while working with patients, such as teaching and troubleshooting, and applies them to the classroom. Aside from an occasional guest speaker, he has served as the sole lecturer for Nutritional Sciences 132: Nutrition Today since 1997. The course, taken by hundreds of non-science majors each semester, is an important offering for students, providing them with a foundational knowledge in both science and personal health.

Working with students is Anderson’s favorite part of his position, and he strives to narrow the course material to the most important items for them to know. It’s a challenge that has been nothing short of rewarding, especially when Anderson hears from students about the personal impact the course has had on their lives. “A student moved me to tears in that way just today,” he says.

My assigned reading this semester includes …

My class uses Nutrition, Ecology & Behavior by Anderson (me).

At the moment, I’m reading …

I’ve been reading Braving It: A Father, a Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey into the Alaskan Wild, by local author James Campbell, aloud to my 12-year-old daughters (twins). We like that kind of stuff. By myself, I’m reading The First World War by John Keegan, in memory of its centenary and to try to understand why it happened. 

My favorite place on campus to read is …

On top of Observatory Hill by the mounds, and with a view of the lake. You’ve got history, mystery, and scenery. 

My favorite author is …

Probably C. S. Lewis. 

One thing that everyone needs to read is …

Something that grounds you in your own religious or intellectual tradition. Then something written from a point of view that’s outside your comfort zone. It’s dangerous, because sometimes it will change your mind. 

My best recent discovery is …

The Everlasting Stream: A True Story of Rabbits, Guns, Friendship, and Family by Walt Harrington. A white Washington Post journalist marries into an African American family from Kentucky and reluctantly begins rabbit hunting with his father-in-law and friends. They upend his view of the world. Best exploration of race, men, hunting, and rural life I’ve read in a long, long time, all in one concise, beautifully written package. 

I like to reread …

Anything by Hammond Innes. 

I keep meaning to get around to reading …

The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.