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January 31, 2010

Who is Dodie Anderson? 'I just love the Gamecocks'

Considering USC's Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center, aka "The Dodie," will bear her name for future generations, the 82-year-old benefactor from Greer has yet to see much of the recently completed, 40,000-square-foot facility's interior - at least, not in person.

Considering USC's Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center, aka "The Dodie," will bear her name for future generations, the 82-year-old benefactor from Greer has yet to see much of the recently completed, 40,000-square-foot facility's interior - at least, not in person.

"Well, I think it's beautiful," Anderson said, anticipating Wednesday's official dedication. "I've driven by (when visiting Columbia, mostly for USC sports events) ... but I haven't been inside. But it looks nice" from the outside.

Anderson - who with her late husband, Bob, founded a Clinton hardwood flooring company that later sold for millions - has seen virtual images of everything, though. USC officials said they sent her regular e-mails and videos during the construction.

"I thought it'd never get the show above the ground," she said, laughing. "There's a lot underneath it."

USC athletics director Eric Hyman said Anderson, whose gift of $5 million to $6 million for the $13.5 million building entitled her to naming rights, has been as eager to see the finished product as he is.

"She has a huge sense of urgency; she wants this to get done so she'll be able to absorb and get a feel for it," Hyman said.

A lifelong supporter of community causes in the Upstate, Anderson is an ardent USC fan who shares seats at football games with daughter Randi Berry. When approached several years ago by Hyman about a donation, her first question was, "What does (football coach) Steve (Spurrier) want?"

The Dodie is the result. "I was at the (2008) groundbreaking and had my picture made with the (SEC-champion) girls soccer team," she said. "That was fun. I just love the Gamecocks."

The feeling is mutual. "She's phenomenal," Hyman said. "I wish I could clone her."

- Bob Gillespie

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