North Central honors Becky Anderson ’82 Wilkins with Outstanding Alumni Award
Sep 24, 2014
North Central College is honoring Anderson’s Bookshops owner Becky Anderson of Naperville with a 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award.
Anderson and four others will be honored during the College’s Homecoming Reunion Celebration from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, at the College’s Residence Hall/Recreation Center, 440 S. Brainard St.
Anderson is a 1982 graduate of North Central College and 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, Anderson has built the company’s reputation to such stature that it attracts prestigious author visits.
Yet she remains 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, Anderson 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, Anderson 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 her leadership and service have been recognized numerous times on a state and local level, as well.
Anderson 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, Anderson 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. Anderson and her family represent a long legacy of support for the College as neighbors, alumni and friends. She and her husband Charles Wilkins reside are the parents of three adult children.
Others being honored during North Central’s Homecoming are Outstanding Alumni Award recipients William Gossell of Farmers Branch, Texas, and Jeff Swallow of Naperville. Wade Hicks of Framingham, Mass., will receive an Alumni Recognition Award and the Rev. Tom Babler of Naperville will receive a Wall of Witness honor.