If home is indeed where the heart is, then Dorothy (Farr) Dixon, ’23, was the heart of a homey Whitworth experience she helped create for students living on campus. As president of the Whitworth Women’s Auxiliary, Dixon led the effort to provide amenities that created warm and welcoming gathering spaces in each residence hall. In a January 1961 Campus Call alumni newsletter, she proudly listed each project made possible by auxiliary funds: a new piano for Arend Hall, two reupholstered davenports and a lamp for Nason Hall, and a new tile floor and floor lamp in Westminster Hall – with many more projects slated for the coming year.
Dixon’s contributions to Whitworth were motivated by her deep desire to serve students. Though her commanding presence was well-suited for leadership, she was most-loved by the campus community for her quiet acts of kindness. These included her practice of clipping newspaper stories about Whitworth students’ accomplishments and sending the clippings to their family members.
After receiving her Whitworth degree in English in 1923, Dixon received many more honors and titles from Whitworth over the course of her life. In 1950, she was the first woman elected to Whitworth’s board of trustees and was named a trustee emerita after 20 years of service. In 1963, she received the first Alumni Distinguished Service Award, for outstanding leadership in service to the community. President Ed Lindaman proclaimed Jan. 18, 1972, “Dorothy Dixon Day,” and in 1977 she received the George F. Whitworth Medal. In 1987, the president’s home (known as Hawthorne House) was dedicated to her.
During her student days at Whitworth, Dixon was a campus leader, May Queen and tennis champion. After graduating, she began full-time church work and sang soprano in the Central Christian Quartet. She then worked as a director of Christian education for First Presbyterian Church, in Santa Barbara, Calif . In 1946, she married Grant Dixon, a prominent Spokane lumberman and Whitworth trustee, and moved back to Spokane. Grant died just three years later, in 1949. In 1957, Dixon Hall was named in his honor, an honor that Dorothy shared the rest of her life. Dixon remained active in Spokane as a civic leader for music and theater, but her life’s work continued with Whitworth and through her leadership of the auxiliary. Gerrie Lindaman, widow of Whitworth President Ed Lindaman, said, “Dorothy was my first real friend when we first came to Whitworth. And she was always Mrs. Whitworth to me.”