Carl A. Anderson
Supreme Knight – Knights of Columbus
As supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, Carl A. Anderson is the chief executive officer and chairman of the board of the world’s largest Catholic family fraternal service organization, which has more than 1.8 million members.
Mr. Anderson has had a distinguished career as a public servant and educator. From 1983 to 1987, he served in various positions of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, including special assistant to the President and acting director of the White House Office of Public Liaison. Following his service at the White House, Mr. Anderson served for nearly a decade as a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
From 1983 to 1998, Mr. Anderson taught as a visiting professor of family law at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. In 1988, he became the founding vice president and first dean of the Washington, D.C., session of this graduate school of theology now located at The Catholic University of America.
He is the author of the New York Times bestseller, A Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do To Transform The World; co-author (with Msgr. Eduardo Chávez) of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love, also a New York Times bestseller; co-editor (with Livio Melina) of The Way of Love: Reflections on Pope Benedict XVI's Encyclical Deus Caritas Est; (with José Granados) Called to Love: Approaching John Paul II’s Theology of the Body; and Beyond a House Divided: The Moral Consensus Ignored by Washington, Wall Street & the Media.
Mr. Anderson was the only Catholic layman from North America to serve as an auditor at the World Synod of Bishops in 2001, 2005 and 2008.
Pope John Paul II appointed Mr. Anderson as a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life (1998) and the Pontifical Council for the Laity (2002), and as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (2003). Pope Benedict XVI has appointed him as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (2007) and as a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family (2008). In addition, he has served as a consultant to the Pro-Life Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) since 2002.
Mr. Anderson is a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Sylvester; a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great; and a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
He serves as a member of the International Scientific Council of the Studium Generale Marcianum of Venice. In 1994, he was a member of the Vatican delegation for the Fifteenth Meeting of the International Jewish Liaison Committee held in Jerusalem.
Mr. Anderson currently serves on the Board of Trustees of The Catholic University of America and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He has received honorary doctorates from The Catholic University of America, The Pontifical Theology Academy of Krakow and St. Vincent’s Seminary, Latrobe, Pa. Mr. Anderson is the recipient of many honors including the Imago Dei Award, Archdiocese of Denver (2005); the Canterbury Medal, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (2007); Servant of Peace Award, Path to Peace Foundation (2007); Rector’s Award, Pontifical North American College, Rome (2008); The John Carroll Society Award (2009); the Lupa Capitolina Award, City of Rome (2009); and the John Cardinal O’Connor Award (2009).
Mr. Anderson has served as assistant supreme secretary and supreme secretary of the Knights of Columbus until becoming supreme knight in October 2000. Prior to that, he served as the Order vice president for public policy from 1987 to 1997. He has been grand knight, district deputy, state advocate, state secretary and state deputy for the District of Columbia jurisdiction.
Since Mr. Anderson assumed the responsibilities of supreme knight in 2000, the Knights of Columbus has achieved new heights in charitable giving, providing in its latest year $155 million directly to charity and more than 70 million hours in volunteer service.
In over a decade as the chief executive officer of the Order, Anderson has overseen strong growth in the Knights’ financial resources — many of which have nearly doubled during his tenure. Life insurance in force has doubled from $40.4 billion to approximately $82 billion — an increase of nearly 7% a year. Annual life insurance sales have also increased — from $4.0 billion in 2000 to $7.77 billion in 2010 — an annual growth rate of 6.8%.
Despite two serious market corrections during his tenure, the Knights has remained financially strong. Today, there is no more highly rated insurer than the Knights of Columbus in North America. The organization has earned the top rating from A.M. Best (A++) for 36 consecutive years, and its assets under management have increased from $8.5 billion in 2000 to nearly $18 billion today.
In 2010, in the midst of a muted recovery following one of the worst economic crises, the Knights’ position relative to the U.S. life insurance industry actually improved, and the Order’s investment portfolio earned a very competitive 5.5%. In fact, A.M. Best said the financial strength of the Knights of Columbus is “based on its extremely strong capital, very strong competitive position because of its unique strategic advantage in the Catholic market, historically strong profitability, and extremely strong liquidity...” when they gave the Knights their top rating of A++ (Superior) this year — for the 35th consecutive year.In addition, during Mr. Anderson’s tenure the Knights of Columbus established the $1 million Heroes Fund to provide immediate assistance to the families of rescue workers killed in the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001; the $2 million Pacem in Terris Fund to assist efforts for peace in the Middle East by the Catholic Church; was financial sponsor of the 2004 Papal Concert of Reconciliation; and in conjunction with Project Medishare the Knights of Columbus, through the “Healing Haiti’s Children” program, is providing free prosthetic limbs and a minimum of two years of rehabilitation therapy to children in Haiti who lost a limb or limbs as a result of the January 2010 earthquake that devastated that country.
Mr. Anderson holds degrees in philosophy from Seattle University and in law from the University of Denver. He is a member of the bar of the District of Columbia and is admitted to practice law before the U.S. Supreme Court.
He and his wife, Dorian, are the parents of five children.