Last spring, Mary Pat Dixon was one of several graduates who returned to Grounds for her 50th class reunion and her induction into the Thomas Jefferson Society.
Mary Pat moved to Washington, DC, after graduating in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in education and took her first job teaching fourth graders in northern Virginia. She then headed to Heibronn, Germany, for two years of teaching third grade in the Overseas Dependents’ Schools. She returned to the states, taking a position in Burlington, Massachusetts, where she worked within the local school system in various capacities for the next 20 years.
Over time, she earned two master’s degrees and a certificate of advanced graduate studies degree. She taught at all grade levels, and after a full and productive two-decades-long career in Burlington, she retired in 1984.
“At the beginning, I only wanted to be a good elementary school classroom teacher,” Mary Pat says. “As time progressed, I would see that the instruction and guidance I received at the University of Virginia gave me invaluable tools and experience that would serve me well throughout an interesting and fulfilling career.”
Mary Pat still lives in Massachusetts, where she operates Mary Pat Enterprises, an Oriental rug retailing and decorating business. She says she enjoyed returning to U.Va. and especially attending the Curry School’s TJ Society luncheon. “It was heartwarming to be with other educators who are enthused about teaching,” she said. “Being in those beautiful Jeffersonian surroundings, where it all began for me, made me want to return to work, to the worthwhile endeavor of helping the next generation grow up.”
The Thomas Jefferson Society of Alumni encompasses all alumni who gradated from the University of Virginia 50 or more years ago. At each year’s TJ Society Reunion, the Curry School honors its alumni with a special luncheon and presentation by Dean Bob Pianta. At the upcoming TJ Society Reunion on May 16-18, the class of 1961 will be inducted.