Above: Col. Dickerson (at far left) with a group of his study abroad program students.
A much-respected former professor will be honored at Mason through the establishment of a scholarship in his name.
Colonel Michael (Mike) A. Dickerson (U.S. Army, Ret.), who taught in Mason’s Department of Communication for 18 years, passed away on March 11 at the age of 83.
Dickerson came to Mason in 1998 after two successful careers, the first as an officer in the U.S. Army, and the second as a public relations professional in Washington, D.C. At Mason, Dickerson brought those vast life experiences to students in the classroom and in so doing discovered two of his greatest passions: teaching students skills that would serve them in their careers, and connecting students to professional opportunities through his extensive network. His impact on the Mason community was extraordinary. With two colleagues, Tom Hoog and Don Boileau, Dickerson co-founded the Insight Committee, which still serves the department by connecting students with mentorship opportunities from public relations and communication professionals across many industries.
“Mike demonstrated to students the power of networking in helping them succeed,” said Boileau, now an emeritus professor of communication.
He also developed a study abroad program that focused on international public relations in London, and for 13 years, led the program to the U.K. every winter break, introducing more than 100 students to their first global experience.
“In the course he built, students traveled with him and his wife, Nancy, to London to meet some of the world’s leaders in communications and news,” said Katherine Rowan, emerita professor of communication. “They arranged and taught that course each winter term, for many years. Mike spent summers securing appointments for this class with very senior individuals.”
Mike also helped place 500 students in their first internships, serving as their advocates and writing countless letters of recommendation.
Per Mike and his wife Nancy’s wishes, the Colonel Michael A. Dickerson Scholarship in Public Relations will, once endowed, provide substantial support for juniors and seniors pursuing a communication degree with a concentration in public relations. Having taught over 3,000 Mason students in the classroom over the years, Mike knew firsthand that too often finances prevented a student from obtaining their degree and beginning their career. The Dickerson Scholarship will help change that.
“Mike and Nancy made students’ and faculty members’ lives enormously better for more than two decades. This scholarship is a wonderful way to keep Mike’s vision for Mason student success vibrant,” said Rowan.
by Anne Reynolds / April 16, 2021
To contribute online to the Colonel Michael A. Dickerson Scholarship in Public Relations, click here. Or mail your check, payable to George Mason University Foundation Inc., to: 4400 University Drive, MS 1A3, Fairfax, VA 22030. Indicate “Col. Dickerson Scholarship Fund” in the memo line.