William A. Anderson, who had been a college professor, a National Science Foundation officer, a World Bank natural disaster specialist, and an official of the National Research Council, died Dec. 29 on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. He was 76 and a resident of Silver Spring.
Dr. Anderson’s death was caused by injuries suffered in a bicycle accident, according to his wife, Norma Anderson. She said he fell hard from his bicycle, lost his helmet and broke several bones.
Dr. Anderson was associate executive director of the National Research Council of the National Academies from 2001 until retiring in 2011. Throughout his career, he studied disasters, seeking an understanding of why marginalized groups tend to suffer the worst consequences.
William Averette Anderson was born in Akron, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Akron in 1960 and received a master’s degree in sociology in 1961 from Kent State University in Ohio. In 1966, he received a doctorate in sociology from Ohio State University.
As a professor at Arizona State University, he directed the minority-fellowship program for the American Sociological Association.
Dr. Anderson came to Washington in 1976 to work for the National Science Foundation. At the foundation, he promoted the study of women, racial minorities and other vulnerable populations in disasters. From 1999 to 2001, he was with the World Bank and worked to reduce the impact of natural disasters in developing countries.
Survivors include his wife of 45 years, Norma Doneghy Anderson of Silver Spring; and a daughter, Candice Anderson of Brooklyn.