David Watson Daly Dickson ’41, H’74 died on December 10, 2003, in Palm Coast, Florida.
Born on February 16, 1919, in Portland, he prepared for college at Portland High School and was graduated from Bowdoin summa cum laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 1941. He received a master of arts degree from Harvard in 1942, and then served for three years in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, attaining the rank of first lieutenant. He received his doctor of philosophy degree from Harvard in 1949, a year after he joined the faculty at Michigan State University. In 1952, he was selected by the Michigan State faculty as the first recipient of that institution’s Alumni Distinguished Teacher Award. As a member of the faculty at Northern Michigan University from 1963 to 1968, he was successively chair of the Department of English, dean of arts and sciences, and academic vice president. In 1968, he was appointed academic vice president, provost and professor of English at Federal City College in Washington, DC, that city’s first public liberal arts college. In 1969, he became assistant to the president of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and then served there as dean of continuing and developing education until 1973, when he became president of what is now known as Montclair State University in New Jersey. He retired as president in 1984, and continued to teach there until 1989. In 1971, he was the recipient of the Distinguished Bowdoin Educator Award, and in 1974 he received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from the College, the citation for which said, in part, “A sensitive literary scholar, his interests range from Biblical literature to Milton, from Shakespeare to lyric poetry. He is a teacher of consummate skill…. Now, as President of Montclair State College, he heads the most distinguished of the State Colleges of New Jersey. That he does so with skill and compassion is obvious. His commitment to public education and the opportunities it affords is strong and deep. But even deeper is his conviction that man can take pride in his own particularity and at the same time glory in his common humanity. Wise, gentle, far- seeing, he is one of the undoubted leaders of American education.” He was elected to Bowdoin’s Board of Overseers in 1966 and to the Board of Trustees in 1975, a position that he held until 1982, when he was named a trustee emeritus. He was married in 1951 to Vera Allen, who died in 1979, and is survived by his second wife, Barbara Childs Mickey Dickson, whom he married in 1981; a son, David A. Dickson II ’76 of Olney, MD; two daughters, Deborah D. Jones of Burtonsville, MD, and Deirdre Dickson of Montclair, NJ; a sister, Lois D. Rice H’84 of Washington, DC; a stepson, Dr. Robert Mickey of Silver Spring, MD; a stepdaughter, Sharon Mickey of Brandywine, MD; three grandchildren; and three stepgrandchildren.