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July 15, 2013

My passion for Purdue: Barbara Dixon

Barbara Dixon

Barbara Dixon, associate dean for administration in the College of Liberal Arts. (Photo provided)
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Barbara Dixon, associate dean for administration in the College of Liberal Arts, and her husband, Paul, professor of languages and cultures, not only touch the lives of students through their work at Purdue, but they also are helping students through a scholarship they established in 2008.

One of their favorite activities is meeting scholarship recipients in person and hearing about the impact their gifts are having. "I give because every day I see how much need our students have and just how deeply they appreciate what they get," says Barbara Dixon (MS'85, PhD'92).

Dixon recalls how greatly both of her parents valued education. Her father, Edward L. Hart, was a professor and Rhodes Scholar. Dixon's mother, Eleanor Coleman Hart, despite graduating as valedictorian of her high school class and earning a full academic scholarship, didn't attend college because she didn't have the bus fare to get to the city where it was located. The Harts were passionate about education and all nine of their grandchildren have earned college degrees.

Because college costs have risen so dramatically and the price is becoming out of reach for many qualified applicants, scholarships have become more important than ever to helping pay the way. "I realized that in order to draw good, qualified students to Purdue, we have to be competitive with what we offer," Dixon says.

Establishing an in-state scholarship was the best way, the Dixons believed, that they could help those with a real financial need and in turn, pay tribute to her parents' legacy and their passion for education.