Student Rodney Anderson to be
Honored By Cal State Fullerton
December 8, 2004 :: No. 102
Rodney Anderson, seated center, with his family.
In 2000, Rodney Anderson, a student and basketball
player at Cal State Fullerton, was visiting his family in South
Central Los Angeles on a day off from practice.
Following dinner, he decided to go for a walk. While
standing on the sidewalk a short distance from his home, gang members
approached him, mistaking him for a rival gang member. He was shot
three times — paralyzing him from the waist down.
Since that day, his friends and supporters at Cal
State Fullerton have encouraged Anderson to continue his education.
“What happened to Rodney was tragic,”
said Robert Palmer, vice president for student affairs. “He
was a promising basketball player on scholarship here. We all know
what a special person Rodney is, and we wanted to continue our support.”
His scholarship was continued and in June, Anderson
is scheduled to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in human
Tonight, Cal State Fullerton will honor the 23-year-old
by retiring his jersey at a special ceremony, and a crew from ABC’s
“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” will there to videotape
“There is no doubt that Rodney would have continued
to make a great contribution to the basketball team at Cal State
Fullerton,” said Brian Quinn, CSUF director of intercollegiate
“Even after he was injured, he still came to
the games to support the team. He epitomizes good sportsmanship.
Many people in his situation would be bitter, but that’s just
not how it is with Rodney. It is an honor for us to be able to recognize
“It says a lot about Rodney that he wanted to
continue with his education even after such a devastating injury,”
said Paul Miller, director of disabled student services. “We
all want to do what we can to support him. He is an inspiration
to many of the students here, both disabled and non-disabled. We
are all very proud of his accomplishments.”
The “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” staff
selected the Anderson home for an extreme makeover — in fact,
the house was demolished over the weekend, and a new home is being
built in its place.
Rodney has lived in the three-bedroom, one-bathroom
home with his parents, his sister and her three children since the
shooting. He has been restricted to two rooms of the house, including
the dining room, which was converted into his bedroom. Because the
house was built in 1911, the doorways to many rooms were too narrow
to accommodate Anderson’s wheelchair.
At one point, a contractor was hired to work on the
home but after knocking down some walls, the contractor disappeared,
leaving gaping holes in the house. Because of the house’s
age, the ceiling was in danger of collapsing and the floorboards
were buckling under the weight of Anderson’s wheelchair.
The family was facing financial difficulties as well.
Anderson’s mother had to quit her job to care for her son
following the shooting. A year to the day after the incident; his
father was in a car accident, severely injuring his foot.
With the help of the design team from “Extreme Makeover: Home
Edition,” the Andersons will have a new home. The contractors,
designers and hundreds of workers are in the process of transforming
the home into one that complies with the Americans with Disabilities
Act. While the home is being built, the Anderson family is enjoying
a weeklong vacation in the Bahamas, courtesy of the network.
The episode featuring the Andersons is scheduled to
air on ABC in early 2005.
||Valerie Orleans, Public Affairs,
657-278-4540 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mel Franks, Sports Information, 657-278-3981
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