The university and the family of Senator Dixon have partnered together to raise $250,000 for the transformation of the former high school cafeteria building into a state-of-the-art, collegiate student center, slated to open in the spring of 2011.
“Our family is thrilled and honored to have Lindenwood pay homage to Al through the new student center,” said Joan Dixon, wife of the former senator, who currently practices law in St. Louis. “He went to high school here, as did his mother and our three children, and he always put Belleville first, so we thought this was a fitting tribute to him.”
The Alan J. Dixon Student Center will provide Lindenwood University students with a comprehensive research library, an ergonomically designed computer lab with 48 computer terminals, a dining hall, a contemporary student lounge, and a campus store. As a tribute to Senator Dixon, the library will also showcase a small museum of his political accomplishments.
Previously Belleville Township High School West, the college campus was purchased by Lindenwood University in 2003 as an extension campus. Since then, Lindenwood Belleville has grown to serve more than 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students. The campus launched a day program in 2009, and with a dramatic increase in the number of traditional day students, the university recently expanded to offer student housing and now a contemporary multipurpose student center.
Jerry Bladdick, vice president and chief administrative officer of Lindenwood University-Belleville, said, “To be able to name our student center after such a highly esteemed Illinois steward as Senator Dixon is truly an honor. Senator Dixon promoted education throughout his entire political career, and the Dixon family’s ties to both Lindenwood and the city of Belleville make him a perfect match for the naming of our student center.”
Born and raised in Belleville, Dixon graduated from Belleville Township High School, where Lindenwood Belleville now stands, and later earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and his law degree from Saint Louis’ Washington University School of Law.
He served the state of Illinois as a member of the Illinois House from 1951 to 1963 and the State Senate from 1963 to 1971. He was State Treasurer from 1971 to 1977 and Illinois Secretary of State from 1977 to 1981. After serving in the United States Senate from 1981 to 1992, he chaired the federal government’s Base Realignment and Closure Commission from 1994 to 1995. He currently is practicing law with the Bryan Cave law firm in St. Louis.