Dickersons’ generosity unlocks opportunities

Lois and George Dickerson
with Dean Richard E. Sorensen
in the early 1990s
Lois and George Dickerson with Dean Richard E. Sorensen in the early 1990s.

George Dickerson (BAD ’41) was a newly minted Virginia Tech graduate when he met the love of his life just before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Corps of Cadets member was soon in the Southwest Pacific Theater, but Lois Anne Wood waited for him. They married in April 1946 and spent 53 years together traveling the globe, as George ascended the military ladder, and later played active roles in the community where they retired.

Gift endows professorship in international business

Lois died recently and George in 1999, but their generosity continues. The couple established a bequest to Virginia Tech that will unlock opportunities for decades to come, by endowing the George W. Dickerson Professorship of International Business and the George W. Dickerson Scholarship Fund in the Pamplin College of Business. Reed Kennedy, director of international programs for the college, said the gift calls attention to the study of international business, which is growing in both prevalence and significance.

“Businesses are international now,” he said. “The Internet has made it that way. Even small companies can have a global reach. It’s not just Virginia. It’s not just the U.S. anymore. It’s world markets.”

Teaching cultural confidence

For that reason, students must learn what Kennedy calls cultural confidence. Different countries have different societal expectations and customs. Businesses will expect employees to be able to go abroad and navigate seamlessly.

One way Pamplin tries to introduce students to different cultures is through travel. A scholarship program like the one created by the Dickersons can help do that. With their generosity, the couple will help generations of students to better understand the world, which is fitting, given the Dickersons’ own international lives, said Pamplin development director Alex Fritz.

George Dickerson spent decades in the Army before retiring as a Brigadier General. He was stationed in Austria, Korea, Italy, Germany, and also spent time stateside. When the couple retired to Poquoson, George Dickerson became town manager and later oversaw the municipality’s transition to an incorporated city. According to his obituary, he was known for innovative and diplomatic approaches.

Like her husband, Lois Dickerson was also engaged in the community. In Poquoson, she owned an antique and art business. During her husband’s military career, she was active in various officers’ wives clubs.

“The Dickersons made contributions to communities throughout the world during their lifetimes,” said Fritz. “Through their bequest, their legacy will continue.”

For more information on bequests, visit bit.ly/vtgpbq.

Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Magazine Fall 2015

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