Class Year: 1982 Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2014
Becky Anderson ’82 Wilkins is recognized worldwide as a leading independent book retailer who has tirelessly promoted the importance of reading and value of book publishing. As an owner of Anderson’s BookShops in Naperville and Downers Grove, Ill., Becky has built the company’s reputation to such stature that it attracts prestigious author visits. Yet Becky remains just as committed to community programming and partnering with local school districts to support reading and literacy with programs like Naperville READS. She has also sought to boost the cause of independent retailing and helped form what became IndieBound, which promotes both independent booksellers and a broader “shopping local” philosophy for all types of local businesses.
Among her many honors, Becky most recently won a Hall of Fame Award from the Illinois Reading Council. In 2011, Anderson’s BookShops was named Publisher's Weekly Bookstore of the Year, one of the highest accolades a book retailer can receive. Also in 2011, Becky served as president of the American Booksellers Association (ABA) and in that role personally delivered books to the White House Library and met President Barack Obama. The company and Becky’s leadership and service have been recognized numerous times on a state and local level, as well.
Becky has enriched the campus culture of her alma mater through a partnership to bring visiting authors, including notables like Caroline Kennedy, Bill Bryson, Madeleine Albright and Garrison Keillor, to campus for author talks and book-signings. She also served a key role as an alumni representative on the Presidential Search Committee in 2012.
As a student at North Central, Becky studied book publishing in Germany with the help of a Richter Independent Study Fellowship. Her family roots in Naperville date back to 1875 and she represents the fifth generation of retail ownership. Becky and her family represent a long legacy of support for the College as neighbors, alumni and friends. Becky and her husband Charles Wilkins reside in Naperville and are the parents of three adult children.