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Alumnus gives $100,000 to scholarships

December 3, 2012 — 

Anson Keith Dixon (B.Sc. E.E./52) grew up to overcome many challenges, achieving a rewarding professional and personal life in the process.

Gratitude for the opportunities he was provided as a young man motivated Dixon to donate $100,000 to the University of Manitoba as a way of giving back. Dixon’s generous gift will create three scholarships for engineering students. The A. Keith Dixon Graduate Scholarship in Engineering will support students pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees in engineering while the A. Keith Dixon Scholarship in 2nd Year Engineering and A. Keith Dixon Scholarship in 3rd Year Engineering will support undergraduate students.

Born in Saskatchewan in 1930, Dixon grew up during the Great Depression and became aware of the crushing effects of poverty and the heavy burden debt put on the backs of families. Determined to better himself by working hard and remaining debt free, Dixon developed an interest in engineering and decided to make it his future career. With money raised from summer jobs and a $500 gift from his grandfather, Dixon enrolled in the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Engineering in 1948. He was an outstanding student and loved the opportunity to absorb knowledge.

“I was there to learn everything I could,” says Dixon. “I enjoyed acquiring knowledge. I was a great bookworm.” Dixon was also grateful for a loan of $700 from the U of M after his father died unexpectedly. The loan gave Dixon the chance to finish his degree.

Dixon went on to a long and successful engineering career and developed an interest in air pollution control projects and environmental responsibility. This interest led to the realization of Dixon’s personal dream to create a self-supporting, eco-friendly home, which he built in Rossburn, Manitoba, in the mid-1990s.

A deeply spiritual person, Dixon eventually felt inspired and directed through prayer and his belief in God to sell the home and direct funds from the sale to establish his scholarships in engineering. Dixon, a long-time donor to the university, has also arranged to leave a bequest to the University of Manitoba in his will.

The first engineering awards were given out this fall, and Dixon himself presented the scholarships to the recipients: Andrew Kerr, Japandeep Sethi and Carly Delavau (seen in photo).

“Mr. Dixon is very much an inspiration to a young engineer like myself,” says Delavau. “He is genuinely interested in assisting students and giving back to the university and we have regularly kept in touch since we met in September as he would like to know about updates on my research and future career plans.”

Dixon said he was very excited to meet and present the awards to the recipients.

“I was very impressed with the enthusiasm the students had about their careers,” he says. “It made me feel good that I was able to help them.”

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