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Dixon named vice president for multicultural affairs

By Matthew Winston

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 32 - June 4, 1998

President Paul Torgersen has appointed Benjamin Dixon as the university's vice president for multicultural affairs. Dixon will become the first person to fill this position, which was created last October by Torgersen.
"I am extremely pleased that Ben Dixon will join the Virginia Tech community and pull together these important efforts to enhance the diversity at this university," Torgersen said. "He has a record as an active, visible, and successful consensus-builder in addressing diversity and equity issues. He is highly regarded for the leadership, commitment, wisdom, skill and creativity that he brings to the challenging situations and issues."
Dixon will leave his post as deputy commissioner for education, for the state of Connecticut, which he has held since 1992. There he has been in charge of special grant projects such as the Connecticut School Improvement Initiative, where he managed $7.4 million in federal grants, for more than 120 school districts. He also oversaw the state's Youth Service Bureaus, a $2.8-million state grant program, which provided funds, counseling, and advocacy support services to youths involved in the juvenile-justice system. Dixon also served on several state boards and commissions, including the state's Equity Unity commission.
Dixon is also serving as interim superintendent of the Hartford School System in Connecticut.
Dixon has experience in a variety of arenas, including higher education, K-12 education, corporate management and profit and non-profit groups. He served three years as director of workforce diversity and director of special projects with the Travelers Companies in Hartford, Conn., and 12 years of increasing administrative responsibility in public education in the state of Connecticut.
At the Travelers Companies, Dixon was responsible for developing and providing technical assistance and coordination for diversity and equal-opportunity activities. He also provided staff support to the company's Corporate Workforce Diversity Committee.
"We are incredibly fortunate to have an individual of Dr. Dixon's calibre and with his experience to come to Virginia Tech," said Bob Bates, dean of the College of Arts of Sciences, who served as chair of the Search Committee for the vice president's position. "The Search Committee truly met the challenge of bringing such a talented candidate to campus."
"In talking to Dr. Dixon's colleagues," Bates said, "we have found that he earned the highest regard of everyone with whom we spoke and is known as a warm and compassionate person, genuinely concerned about the welfare and diversity of all people."
In 1962 Dixon earned a bachelor's degree in music education from Howard University, College of Fine Arts, Washington, D.C.; a master's degree in 1963 from Harvard University; and an Ed.D. in 1977 from the University of Massachusetts, where he was the holder of a Ford Fellowship.
Dixon will assume his post at Virginia Tech August 17.