Gene Anderson grew up in Conway and attended Conway High School and Coastal Carolina College. He earned his bachelor's degree with honors in English from Campbell University and a master's degree in higher education administration from Appalachain State University. He was a communications supervisor for four years in the U.S. Navy and held the same position from 1956 to 1960 in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.
Anderson became director for admissions at USC Coastal Carolina College in 1970. He developed a team-taught course called "The History of Horry County," which was popular in the community. As a member of the Horry County Higher Education Commission from 1989 to 1991, Anderson played a role in Coastal's breaking away from the Univeristy of South Carolina by making the motion to seek independence. He served on the first Board of Trustees of the newly-formed university; he was named trustee emeritus following his term.
For 27 years, Anderson was a restaurateur and has owned such restaurants as Aunt Maude's Country Kitchen, Aunt Maude's Seafood & Beef and New Town Cafe. He is currently retired.
Active in civic affairs, he is a former president of the Myrtle Beach Rotary Club and the Horry County Historical Society. He is a graduate of Leadership South Carolina. Other boards on which he served include the South Carolina Hall of Fame, S.C. Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, S.C. Baptist Courier newspaper, among others. Anderson has received commendations and honors from the Rotary International, the S.C. House of Representatives, American Cancer Society, S.C. March of Dimes, American Heart Association and Grand Stand Citizens for Life.
He is a member of the Myrtle Beach Community Church and a former deacon at Ocean View Baptist Church. He has been married to his wife, Geri, for 47 years. They have a son, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren.
Anderson was named an honorary founder of Coastal Carolina University in 2009.