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Loyola mourns loss of longtime supporter and friend Dave Dixon

Loyola press release - August 9, 2010

The Loyola University New Orleans community today mourns the loss of New Orleans icon and longtime friend and benefactor, David F. Dixon, who died Sunday morning at the age of 87.

Dixon was a tireless supporter of Loyola for decades, serving on its Board of Trustees from 1986 to 1992, and remained an Honorary Trustee until his death. He was also a recent member of the Library and Social Sciences Visiting Committees and a past member of the President’s Council. In 1983, Loyola’s College of Business honored Dixon with the Rev. Jacques E. Yenni, S.J., Award for Distinguished Community Service, and he received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the university in 1984.

Under Dixon’s energetic leadership, Loyola’s Major Gifts Committee raised more than $13 million to build the Communications/Music Complex in the mid-1980s. The courtyard on the St. Charles Avenue side of the building was named in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Dixon in 1986.

“New Orleans has lost a great civic leader and Loyola has lost a great friend,” said Loyola University President the Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D. “The support, leadership and vision he graciously provided the Loyola community will have an impact on this university for years to come. He will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Mary, and the whole Dixon family.”

Dixon’s commitment to Loyola knew no bounds. In 1983, Dixon, founder of the United States Football League (USFL), sold his franchise rights to the Houston Gamblers for an undisclosed amount and subsequently made Loyola the recipient of an $850,000 gift.

Dixon even gave Loyola partial credit for the founding of the USFL, telling reporters at the Miami Herald that prayers by President Emeritus the Rev. James C. Carter, S.J., were crucial in the early success of the league.

“If there is a father of the USFL, I think it’s the priests of Loyola…I talked to Father James Carter, and he told me, ‘David, I think this thing is going to succeed. I’m going to have a large number of the Jesuit community at Loyola dedicate some special prayers for the next six weeks.”

Carter recalls the exchange and agrees with his assessment of the power of prayer, but says it was Dixon’s unwavering determination that got the USFL off the ground.

“He was such a good man and that had as much to do with his success as our prayers did,” Carter said. “God helps a man who helps himself.”

Both Dixon and his wife, Mary, are members of Loyola’s Society of St. Ignatius and its Heritage Society.