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Thomas W. Dickinson III

Class of 1973

Awarded in 2013

Even at an institution like Beloit College, where a dedication to examining international perspectives is the norm, Thomas Dickinson III stands out for his pursuit of promoting global understanding and his interest in exploring the world.

His interest in international issues started early; he spent part of his childhood in Haiti and never lost his connection to the country, spending his 50th birthday there and returning a half-dozen times over the years. On one such trip, he led efforts to secure cancer treatment in the U.S. for a Haitian nun, just one example of his altruistic nature.

During his college days, the Beloit-Plan-era history major spent a field term in Washington, D.C., had a radio show on WBCR, worked with Beloit Cable TV, and ran varsity track. He made the most of the college’s dedication to international education by participating in a groundbreaking, interdisciplinary study abroad seminar in Germany and Sweden in 1972, during which he and other Beloiters studied the politics of pollution control, using the two European countries as case studies. The seminar had a lasting effect on Tom, who developed sensitivity to environmental issues that stayed with him long past his graduation in 1973.

Though Tom was adept at adjusting to an international environment, he also applied his talents locally, starting his post-collegiate career as a producer at area television stations and working as director of public information for Rock County. He also married a fellow Beloiter, Ann Tutundjian’76, and went on to earn two master’s degrees: a Master of Science in telecommunications policy from George Washington University in 1985, and a Master of Arts in international studies from Georgetown University in 1990.

He spent the bulk of his career—more than 30 years—in service to his country through work in the communications technology field with audio, video, and data for the federal government, including serving as Japan desk officer for technology development and chairing the Technology Advisory Board for Visual Imagery Systems and the Distance Learning Task Force for the Department of Defense, a job that took him across the globe. Tom has also served as the president of the Arlington Historical Society and on the board of directors for the Arlington Heritage Alliance, remaining active in local history and preservation issues in Arlington County and Northern Virginia.

Whether hiking the Dolomites for two weeks in a Beloit College T-shirt or traveling around the world in his work for the government, it is clear that the college is never far from Tom’s thoughts. He has tirelessly supported Beloit with his time and numerous talents, returning to offer advice to current students during career fairs, helping to plan reunions, and enthusiastically serving as president of the Beloit College Alumni Association, chair of that association’s board of directors, and class agent. For this, and for all the ways he positively represents the college in the world at large, the Beloit College Alumni Association is proud to bestow Thomas W. Dickinson III with its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Citation.