As president and CEO of the Missouri Community College Association, Rob Dixon is a powerful advocate for community colleges.
"When we look at issues facing our country and our economy, nothing is more important than investing in education and making sure our colleges and communities are ready to meet the needs of the 21st century economy," Dixon said. "If we don't we will be left behind."
Dixon was 23 when he completed his service to the U.S. Marine Corps and started taking classes at SCC using benefits from the GI bill.
"Returning to school after five years of being in the military was a little intimidating," Dixon said.
When he took his first class, Introduction to Business, with Joe Hartnett, SCC professor of business, it sparked his interest in political science.
"Mr. Hartnett's class was engaging and it gave me the confidence to pursue my professional interests," Dixon said.
He graduated from SCC with an Associate of Arts degree with an emphasis in political science. He then received a transfer scholarship to the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in international and comparative politics. Dixon later took three classes during a semester of study at Georgetown in Washington, D.C., and he completed an internship at the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia, also in Washington, D.C.
Dixon and his wife moved to the Springfield, Mo., area where he took a job with the Hollister Chamber. While there he spearheaded a ballot initiative to expand the taxing district and bring a satellite campus of Ozarks Technical Community College to the people in his community. The campus is called OTC Table Rock.
These kind of experiences caused Dixon to become more interested in seeing large projects through from beginning to end. To aid this outlook, Dixon enrolled in a master's degree in public administration from Missouri State University.
Just prior to his work with the Missouri Community College Association, Dixon worked for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, where he moved up the ranks into a vice president role and worked with the board of directors to improve workforce development in Southwest Missouri, which also included community college initiatives.
Dixon's wife Melanie is also an SCC alumna, and they have a six-year-old son. Both of his parents are U.S. Marine veterans and community college graduates, including his mother, Lea Dixon, SCC Child Development lead teacher.
"Throughout our community, state and nation, strong community colleges are preparing students for life and the workforce," Dixon said. "Their academic programs and workforce training programs will provide a tenfold return on our investment."