A Lifetime of Learning

Devotion to alma mater inspires long tenure of Dixie Nash Sakolosky '68.

When Dixie Nash Sakolosky ’68 was preparing to graduate from high school, she was determined to go to a women’s college.

But it was an alumna she met who ultimately sealed the deal for her.

“She was, as I recall, someone with substantial resources,” remembered Sakolosky, who retired this summer as director of institutional research and assistant to the president. “She said, ‘I would sell pencils on a street corner for R-MWC if that’s what they wanted me to do.’ And I thought, ‘Sold!’”

Almost 50 years later, including a 27-year staff tenure at the College, Sakolosky is still “sold.”

Sakolosky’s influence on the College began when she was a student. Jolley Bruce Christman ’69 remembers Sakolosky noticing she was homesick during her first year and inviting Christman to her room to chat. Those same supportive gestures continued years later when Christman served as a member and then president of the Board of Trustees.

“Dixie has been a touchstone to me and so many other alumnae, trustees, students, faculty, and staff,” Christman said. “I admire her, love her, and am forever grateful for all that she is and has accomplished for our alma mater.”

A member of Phi Beta Kappa and a math major, Sakolosky’s first job was as a programmer for the Skylab space program. After 15 years in the nation’s capital, she and her husband, Jim, to whom she was married in 1971, wanted to move somewhere more family-oriented to raise their three children.

Sakolosky credits her work with the College’s alumnae association for steering her toward Lynchburg. “Every time I returned from an alumnae meeting, what I felt was affirmation, empowerment, and a terrific sense of having chosen the best college.”

It was no surprise when Sakolosky decided to accept a position at the College. In 1984, she began a long tenure that included a variety of positions, including assistant to the treasurer, registrar, director of institutional research, assistant to the president, and secretary of the Board of Trustees. She has also helped with three successful accreditation reviews.

“I have benefitted greatly from the people I have known here, the experiences, the performances, and the community-at-large,” she said.

Sakolosky has seen the world—and the College— transform since she arrived. She has served under four presidents and two interim presidents, seen technology explode from cumbersome machines to effortless wireless, and been a part of the College’s historic transformation to coeducation.

What has not changed is what she sees as the soul of Randolph College: its devotion to learning, academic quality, community, honor, and high values.

“I’ve had ever-changing opportunities here,” she said. “This has been both a comfortable and stimulating environment, with wonderful people and continual discovery.”