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Our Last Surviving Founder Leaves Legacy of Innovation

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Dr. James Payson Dixon III, last surviving member of the original Board of Trustees of the precursor of Union Institute & University, and the fourth chairman of the Union Board of Trustees passed away at the age of 98 in February 2016.

Dr. James Payson Dixon III

Last Surviving Founder Leaves Legacy

Dr. James Payson Dixon III, last surviving member of the original Board of Trustees of the precursor of Union Institute & University, and the fourth chairman of the Union Board of Trustees passed away at the age of 98 in February 2016. 

Dr. George Pruitt, Union alumni, President of Thomas Edison State College, and Chairman of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, lauds his contribution to Union. “Jim Dixon was not just one of Unions founders; he was a principal, organizing influence. His impact on higher education should be remembered and celebrated. “

Roger Allbee, Union Institute & University Board of Trustees Chair, praises his contribution to Union. “Dr. Dixon was a real visionary and leader with a distinguished career.”

The impact Dr. Dixon had on Union is summarized below, in Union’s Last Surviving Founder, by Dr. Benjamin R. Justesen, alumni, Ph.D. 2009. You may also read more about Dr. Dixon and his remarkable career in this New York Times obituary

Union’s Last Surviving Founder

“Dr. James Payson Dixon III, last surviving member of the original board of trustees of the precursor of Union Institute & University, and the fourth chairman of the Union board of trustees, has died, according to the New York Times. The highly-regarded educator, a former president of Antioch College, died February 27 in Haverford, Pennsylvania; he would have turned 99 on March 15.

A native of Lebanon, Maine, Dixon was one of 10 founding members of the first board of trustees of the Union for Research and Experimentation in Higher Education (UREHE), formed in 1964. He served on the board for the next 14 years, under the leadership of Union presidents Samuel Baskin and King V. Cheek, Jr.

During his tenure, the UREHE was renamed the Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities (UECU) and established both the Union Graduate School and the undergraduate University Without Walls. Its membership grew to include more than 30 schools. Dixon left Antioch in 1975, but remained on the board until 1978; in his last year on the board; he was elected as its chairman.

Dr. Dixon then moved from Ohio to North Carolina, where he served as a longtime professor of health administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was also interim president of Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia, and a faculty member of Walden University.

The Harvard-trained physician, a graduate of Antioch College, was an Antioch trustee before becoming its president in 1959. His years as Antioch’s leader are movingly recounted in a biography published by his wife, Edla (“Eddie”) Dixon, in 1991: Antioch: The Dixon Era, 1959-1975: Perspectives of James P. Dixon. The Dixons, who met as students at Antioch and were married in 1941, had six children and 11 grandchildren. Mrs. Dixon, an elementary schoolteacher and real estate agent, died in 1995. 

Dixon was the last surviving member of the founding board of UREHE. Only two other members lived into the 21st century: Jerome Sachs, who died in 2012, and Paul Ward, who died in 2005. Royce T. Pitkin (1965-1969) and Rev. Reamer Kline (1969-1974) were the board’s first two chairmen; Dixon became the board’s fourth chairman in 1977, succeeding fellow member James Werntz.

According to the Times obituary (March 6, 2016), Dixon “was one of the first students at Harvard Medical School on academic scholarship and received his medical degree in 1943. A life-long pacifist, Jim registered as a conscientious objector during WWII. He completed his alternative military service with the National Institutes of Health.”

As a lifelong champion of civil rights, Dixon was proud to bring Martin Luther King, Jr. to Antioch as the 1965 college commencement speaker. He was also an active member of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Learn more about Union’s Innovative
History in Online Education

Jeffery Foley is Union’s Keynote Veterans in Union Speaker

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General Jeffrey W. Foley, will Keynote Union’s 2016 Veterans in Union Celebration on June 29

Jeffrey W. Foley

CEO | President of Loral Mountain Solutions

Jeffrey W. Foley, Brigadier General United States Army (Retired) and CEO/President of Loral Mountain Solutions will deliver the keynote speech at the 2016 Union Institute & University Veterans in Union Celebration on June 29, 2016. The Cincinnati native and renowned leadership expert will share leadership lessons and encourage the veterans, now students at Union Institute & University, to continue to grow and make a difference in the lives of others.

President Roger H. Sublett invited General Foley to address the veterans. “General Foley’s commitment to lifelong learning, service, and leadership mirrors Union’s ongoing mission to engage, enlighten, and empower adults as they pursue a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.” 

General Foley will also laud the success of the Veterans in Union program initiated in 2015 with an anonymous grant of $293,000 that provides a $7500 living allowance stipend for eligible  Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana veterans to earn or complete their degree. Currently, 15 veterans are enrolled in the program. In addition, the announcement of a new grant of $150,000 will be made. This grant combined with the initial $293,000 grant in 2015 totals  $443,000 available to veterans.

Foley served his country for over 32 years in the United States Army leading soldiers in war and peace. His journey began in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was born and raised. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. Throughout his military career he served in leadership positions around the world, in constantly changing environments, adapting to new organizations, all the time focused on the accomplishment of the mission and taking care of people. In his final assignment, he served as the Commanding General and Chief of the Army’s Signal Corps and Fort Gordon, Georgia. 

General Foley holds master’s degrees in computer systems and national security and strategic studies. For more than 30 years, he was an active member of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, Association of the U.S. Army, and the Army Signal Corps Regimental Association. He serves on the Board of Directors for Leadership Augusta, Georgia Bank and Trust, the Executive Board for the Georgia-Carolina Council for Boy Scouts of America, the Central Savannah River Area Alliance for Fort Gordon, and the National Board for Lead Like Jesus, an organization co-founded by Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager. He was named Leadership Augusta’s Outstanding Leader in 2008.

In 2015, Union Institute & University bestowed upon him the Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, the university’s highest honor.

Learn more about Union’s Veteran’s in Union program