Rick Dixon’s road to academic success has led through many challenges. But he has walked it with persistence.
Dixon, an enrolled member of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, was born in Chicago and was more inclined toward sports than academics growing up. After a short stint in college and a few jobs, he decided the right path for him was the Marine Corps. Dixon started as an infantryman and eventually worked his way up to the rank of First Sergeant. His service involved multiple combat tours, including participating in Operation Al Fajr (Second Battle for Fallujah, Iraq) in 2004.
After more than 16 years of service, Dixon left the military and began yet another battle: Finding the answer to the question, “What’s next?” He knew exactly what he wanted to do – accounting –and where he wanted to go — Colorado State University.
“As I advanced in the military, I was charged with accounting for more and more things,” said Dixon. “I also served as a dispersing agent in Iraq, so a lot of the things I did later in my career in the military were accounting-related. It seemed like a natural fit.”
There were more hurdles to conquer, such as earning a place at CSU (his first two applications were not accepted) and overcoming a cancer diagnosis in 2012.
In 2014, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree from CSU in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting and a minor in history. Upon graduation, he applied to CSU’s highly competitive Masters of Accountancy program, without much expectation of being accepted. Not only was he accepted, he will receive his Masters of Accountancy degree on Dec. 19 during the college commencement ceremony.
“I knew how amazing the MAcc students were,” said Dixon. “I wasn’t sure I could be successful at that level. I’m extremely fortunate. Our university has tremendous professors and people who support veterans.”
During his time in the College of Business, he earned membership into Beta Alpha Psi — the honor society for accounting, finance and computer information systems students — and helped bring in a record-setting amount of donations to Cans Around the Oval, the University-wide food drive for the Food Bank of Larimer County. Beta Alpha Psi was one of the top student organizations on campus to donate to the effort with 1,643 lbs. of food; the College of Business was the top unit on campus for the ninth year in a row.
Dixon also served as the vice president of the veteran’s honor society on campus, SALUTE. “My favorite memories of CSU will be of the people here – the faculty and students,” said Dixon. “I love the Ram spirit. I think CSU has a great culture of school pride and people really care about each other.”
Dixon has already accepted a staff accounting position with Ehrhardt Keefe Steiner & Hottman (EKS&H). And of course, he says, “There is always the next challenge, which will definitely be the CPA exam!”