Legendary Prof Dixon Dies

Richard B. Dixon, a legendary professor who joined Little Rock Junior College in 1953, died Monday, Oct. 29. He was 86.

Back in his day in the classroom, Richard Dixon didn’t play. The assistant professor of history at Little Rock University – now UALR –took his job of educating his students to heart. And he was good at it.   

“Western Civilization was one of those classes you didn’t look forward to taking, but you had to…but Mr. Dixon brought history to life,” said Bill May, class of 1957. “It was like watching one of those Saturday serials, and you couldn’t wait to get back the next time to find out what happened to the hero. I enjoyed it so much that I signed up for American History the next year. I’ll never forget those lessons.”

Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, at Reubel Funeral Home, 6313 W. Markham St. A graveside service will be held at Roselawn Memorial Park at 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1.

“Richard Dixon was a history teacher here when this was a two-year college that became a four-year university,” said UALR Chancellor Joel E. Anderson. “During his two decades on the faculty, he probably deserved the label ‘inimitable’ more than any other teacher. His former students still tell hilarious stories from their classroom experiences.

“He had a mind for minute details of the history of this institution, of Little Rock, and of Arkansas that continued to amaze us all down through the years after his retirement. He was one of a kind and will be long remembered.”

Dixon, UALR’s Distinguished Alumnus in 1970, earned an associate degree at LRJC where he was president of the Foreign Relations Club and president of the sophomore class. In 1948, Dixon was awarded the G.J. Francis Jr. Memorial Plaque. He earned a B.A. in history from Southwestern at Memphis – later Rhodes College – in 1954 and a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He attained the rank of assistant professor in 1957, the year the junior college became Little Rock University.

“Richard Dixon was a true UALR legend,” said Christian O’Neal, director of the Alumni Association. “His lectures will forever be imprinted in the minds of his students.”

And no one who took Richard Dixon’s history classes could forget that he was a stickler for starting class on time.

Bill May tried to help a tardy classmate sneak in through the back door of the classroom. When he did, May said he felt a piece of chalk whiz by his head.

“I guess he wouldn’t get away with that now, but it sure makes for some good stories,” said May, now chair emeritus of Arkansas Banker’s Bank.

Dixon will forever impact UALR students through the Richard B. Dixon Scholarship for history majors, a fund he established several years before his death.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: UALR-Richard B. Dixon Scholarship Fund, 2801 S. University Ave., Little Rock, AR 72204.

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