By: Michelle Marchante/Editor in Chief
Lee C. Dickson, decorated war veteran and associate dean emeritus of the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, died Saturday, May 12, at 86.
Born Sept. 21, 1931, Dickson served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam war and retired with the rank of Colonel. During his time in the Army, he was director of the Club Management program and was honored with several awards during his service such as the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Bronze Star Medal.
He had also worked as an Operations officer & J4 of MACV in Vietnam, an assistant professor of Military Science at URI, Commander 95th S&S Battalion in Germany and a G4 Delta Regional Assistance Command in Vietnam. He also co-authored “Riverine Operations,” an Army training text (31-75) in 1967 and a Military Review article, “Army Forces in Riverine Operations,” which was published in August 1967.
He was also inducted into the BU Army ROTC Hall of Fame in 2016 and was submitted in 2018 for regional (Northeast – 2d “Freedom” Brigade ROTC) and national (US Army Cadet Command) consideration, according to a tribute left on his obituary page.
He began working at the University in 1983 after 30 years of military service, serving in the roles of assistant, associate and interim dean of Hospitality, and was awarded the title of Associate Dean Emeritus when he retired from the University.
Dickson met his wife, Krystle, in Washington, DC, when he was still an active military personnel. They were married for 25 years.
As a military officer, Dickson was solemn and reserved, Krystle said, but was also smart and caring. He always knew how to make her laugh.
“He’s a quiet person but he’s a very loving and caring person and I’m still…my eyes are not dry. I’m still weeping. It’s heartbreaking,” said Krystle to Student Media.
Krystle’s description of her late husband is similar to those made by Steven Moll, vice provost of the Biscayne Bay campus, and Mohammad Qureshi, associate dean of Facilities & Operations at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.
Moll first met Dickson when the Army selected FIU as their training site for advanced education in the hospitality industry. The two then worked extensively together to prepare the University’s first Food & Wine Festival 20 years ago.
Dickson was working as the University’s liaison with Wine & Spirit, a job his experience working in the Army’s Quartermaster Corps — one of the Army’s logistic department— had made him well equipped for, according to Moll.
Dickson never made any jokes but was one of the most caring men Moll had ever met, especially when it came to students.
“A student would say ‘Dean Dickson, I don’t have enough money to buy my books this term,’ and he would go out of his way and if it took him days or weeks he would find a way to get the funding so the student could have their books and get through school, whether it was books or scholarships he always went out of his way to help the students,” said Moll to Student Media.
Qureshi was still a student when he first met Dickson in the summer of 1982, however, it wasn’t until November 1983 that the two officially met when Qureshi began working at FIU.
As a supervisor, Dickson had a leadership style that made you want to work as best as you could to impress him, according to Qureshi.
“ [Dickson was] a man of high integrity, honesty and high moral character,” Qureshi said to Student Media. “He always looked after students and staff. I will always remember him as a selfless leader.”
Like Moll, Qureshi was given the opportunity to work closely with Dickson. Their 2005 business trip to China, he said, is a moment he has never forgotten.
Qureshi was stopped by immigration officials at the airport for questioning on the return trip and missed his connecting flight. When the officials released him, he found Dickson, who at this point was in his seventies, waiting for him.
“I said, ‘Dean Dickson, you should have left on the connecting flight,’” Qureshi said. “He looked at me and said ‘Army College class 101 lesson is never leave without your troops.’”
Besides being an administrator and a colonel, Dickson was also a man who loved classical music and traveling, according to Krystle. During their time together they visited places such as Rome, Vienna and Germany and saw Andre Rieu’s orchestra whenever they could.
Dickson is survived by his widow, son, daughter and grandchildren. He is also a great-grandfather.
His funeral service will be held in Arlington National Cemetery, VA, on Oct. 11, 2018 at
A Hospitality scholarship in his name has been created at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. Those interested in donating can contact Natalie Osorio at (305) 919-4505 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Featured image by Michelle Marchante, photo courtesy of Krystle Dickson.