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Associate professor of history inducted into local chapter of leadership society; says teaching a "calling" more than a career

April 29, 2002

Dr. Thomas Dixon, associate professor of history, was inducted into the Austin Peay circle of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), a national leadership honor society.

The APSU circle chooses faculty inductees based on leadership in three areas: scholarship, teaching and community service.

"ODK is an organization that supports and encourages high standards of scholarship, leadership, character, integrity and commitment to these principles. I feel very fortunate to be a part of it, since working with the students is my main reason for being here," said Dixon.

"I've never counted the number of students I've taught, but it must be several thousand over 36 years. Any time students honor you in this way, you feel you've made a contribution to their lives.

"For me, teaching was more of a calling than a career. I feel very fortunate to have been at Austin Peay."

Dixon received his bachelor's degree in history from Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Ark., and both his master's degree and doctorate in British and European history from Vanderbilt University.

He began teaching in APSU's department of history and philosophy in 1966. From 1972 to 1977, he directed academic advising at the University in addition to teaching history.

During the Fall 1989 semester, Dixon was selected by former President Oscar Page and former Vice President John Butler to participate in the first semester-long Study Abroad program at Oxford University. In England, he supervised a group of students from APSU, the University of Kentucky, Western Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky State University and Kentucky State University for 16 weeks.

In addition, he has been nominated three times for the Distinguished Professor Award and serves as faculty representative for the Baptist Collegiate Ministry.

Dixon has done extensive research on women and religion in 17th century England. In 1986, he visited the Huntington Library and Art Gallery in San Marino, Calif., to study rare books from the 17th century. Founded by Henry Huntington, the nephew of Colis P. Huntington of Southern Pacific Railway fame, the library possesses one of the finest collections of materials on English history and literature apart from the British Museum.

Since1986, he has returned to the Huntington Library several times. During Fall 1995, he took faculty development leave and spent a semester at the Huntington Library doing research.

Dixon particularly is interested in the life of Lady Frances Edgerton Hobart, a member of one of the great families of that era, and her personal chaplain John Collinges. He hopes to publish a monograph on Hobart and her family in 17th century England. A leading figure among religious dissenters in restoration England, Collinges held three degrees from Trinity College, Cambridge, including a doctorate of divinity.

The national organization of Omicron Delta Kappa has circles on the campuses of 248 colleges and universities. ODK was founded in 1914, and the APSU circle was established in 1979.