Professor Emeritus John Dickson and Family Leave a Legacy
Professor Emeritus John Dickson and his family's philanthropy supports future generations of students at Puget Sound
When Professor Emeritus John P. Dickson P’84, P’01 initially set foot on campus in 1980 as the inaugural George Frederick Jewett Distinguished Professor of Business—the first-ever endowed chair at University of Puget Sound—he was just 37 years old. It was the beginning of a decades-long relationship with the college that today includes several members of Dickson’s family as well.
From left to right: Clay Krauss ’01, Susan Dickson P’01, Professor Emeritus John P. Dickson P’84, P’01, and Elizabeth (Beth) Becker ’84
Serving as Dean of the Business School beginning in 1985, Dickson felt fortunate to rub shoulders with many local leaders in the aviation and timber industries as part of his mission to make career pathways for students and alumni. Over his tenure, he came to learn that Puget Sound was a school that, in his words, “operates more like a family.” Dickson describes campus as a place where he “felt safe, surrounded by kind-hearted people.” He credits this familial warmth and the beautiful campus among the things that convinced him to stay long after his initial five-year commitment.
Among Dickson’s strongest convictions is that to be a “good” business person, one must also be a “good” citizen. Dickson was raised to find ways to give back to his community and this ethos is reflected in the way he encouraged his students to see the bigger picture of themselves within their community and to become active participants in citizenship activities that connected to their passions. A lifelong sailor and early proponent of experiential learning at Puget Sound, Dickson recounts taking students on excursions on his sailboat in order to “help young people get out and recognize the wonder in the environment around them.” At a certain point in each trip, Dickson would ask a student to take the helm and steer. He wanted to show them they could take on the role of captain—even if they had never sailed before. In line with his commitment to mentoring students, Dickson made an effort to include students in his research and hired them for marketing jobs so they could gain hands-on work experience.
When it came time to consider his own philanthropy, Dickson was inspired by his father who funded the educational pursuits of others. Dickson and his late wife, Sarah Dickson MBA’81 P’84, were inspired to support Puget Sound students through the John P. Dickson Scholarship they established when joining the Legacy Society through a planned gift. Professor Dickson and his wife, Susan Dickson P’01, continue to provide generous support for student financial aid and the Business Leadership Program, helping ensure that future generations of leaders can experience all that Puget Sound has to offer.