Dr. Thomas S. Field, president of William Jewell College from 1970 to 1980, passed away March 12 in Springfield, Mo. He was 93.
Dr. Field initiated a “Decade of Greatness” at William Jewell which encompassed numerous developments and physical improvements at the College. Enrollment increased significantly during Dr. Field’s tenure, and the College’s overseas study program was established with an agreement at Regent’s Park College of Oxford University and at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England. The College’s Pillsbury Music Center was dedicated in 1974, and significant funds were secured through the successful “William Jewell Tomorrow” campaign for construction of the Mabee Center for Physical Education, which was completed in 1980.
Dr. Field served as interim president at Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis from 1991 to 1995, and following his interim presidency continued to serve as director of special projects and consultant to MBU president Alton Lacey. In 1995, Dr. Field received the Charles D. Johnson Outstanding Educator Award from the Southern Baptist Education Commission.
“He served William Jewell College honorably and well,” said President David Sallee. “Dr. Field loved the College and its students. His work provided a solid foundation for the generations of Jewell students who are the ultimate beneficiaries of his insight. Dr. Field’s leadership transformed the College from an institution that was, at the moment of his arrival, struggling with its enrollment, its finances and its direction. His influence is still felt today through those faculty members hired during his years and students who studied here then, eleven of whom are now on our Board of Trustees.”
Dr. Field was born on June 2, 1915, in Chicago. He received a B.S. in business administration and public relations at Wheaton College. He also completed graduate work at Northwestern University. He attended Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he received his degree in theology.
While at Wheaton, Dr. Field met Virginia Margaret Leach, and they were married in 1939. Dr. and Mrs. Field had two daughters, Melinda Ann Field Duncan and Rebecca Lyn Field Montgomery. Mrs. Field preceded Dr. Field in death in 1994.
Dr. Field served as pastor of churches in New York, Louisiana and Georgia before coming to Missouri. At the time of his election as president of William Jewell, Dr. Field was senior minister of First Baptist Church of Springfield, at that time the largest Baptist church in Missouri. He served two terms as president of the Missouri Baptist Convention.
Contributions may be made in Dr. Field’s memory to the Dr. and Mrs. Thomas S. Field Scholarship fund in care of the advancement office at William Jewell College, 500 College Hill, Liberty, MO 64068, or online at www.givetojewell.com.
Remembering Dr. Marvin Dixon
Dr. Marvin Porter Dixon, 70, professor emeritus of chemistry at William Jewell College, passed
away January 6, 2009, at North Kansas City Hospital after battling cancer for several months. Dr. Dixon served the College for 38 years from 1965 until his retirement in 2004. During his tenure at William Jewell, Dr. Dixon was a member of the American Chemical Society and had served as secretary to the Society.
Dr. Dixon was an Eagle Scout and served as Scoutmaster for Troop 376 from 1980 to 1988. He was
also an active member of Grace Baptist Church, where he taught Sunday School and was a member of the choir.
He was a patient teacher, noted Dr. Ed Lane, professor of chemistry at William Jewell and chairman of the department. He said that Dr. Dixon always gave students time to grasp difficult concepts, and that he preferred to see the goodness in others rather than dwelling on
“Even if something didn’t work in a lab, he would use that to make us ask more questions,” said Shane Price, instructor of chemistry at William Jewell and one of Dr. Dixon’s former students. “You could really tell that he loved interacting with students and trying to get them interested in what was
Dr. Dixon wanted everyone to realize that chemistry isn’t a boring subject. Donning his doctoral robes and a pointed wizard’s hat, he assumed his alter ego, “the William Jewell Wizard,” to present shows on the magic of science and chemistry to schoolchildren, Scout troops and church groups.
Dr. Dixon had a natural curiosity about the world. He wanted to know how things worked, and he embraced technology and enjoyed building electronic gadgets. Family members recalled that Dr. Dixon once built a television and stereo from kits.
Dr. Dixon was a lifelong music lover and could regularly be found in the audience at Harriman-Jewell Series events. Music was often playing in the background as he graded his students’ papers.
He is survived by his wife, Dr. Trudy Dixon of Platte Woods, Mo., as well as many loving family members and friends and several generations of chemistry students at William Jewell College.
To make a contribution to William Jewell College in memory of Dr. Dixon, go to www.givetojewell.com or contact the advancement office at William Jewell College, 500 College Hill, Liberty, MO 64068.