Gene Dickirson, BSME '73

Release Date: November 2, 2018
Gene-Dickirson.JPGWhy did you choose to come to Lawrence Tech?
I graduated from another university in Indiana and took a job as a draftsman at Ford but it became clear to me early on that I needed more education if I wanted to advance. I completed a drafting program at a local community college before transferring to Wayne State University. However, it was difficult to earn a degree there at night because I was working full time at Ford and there weren't as many offerings in the evenings. I decided to transfer to Lawrence Tech to complete my degree after hearing so many of my colleagues at Ford talking about it.

What was your experience like?
Most of the instructors worked in the industry so the education was grounded in reality, and that was the difference between Lawrence Tech and many of the other institutions. I had three children at home while I was working full time and going to night school. In total, it took me 10 years to complete my degree. It was tough but that made it all the more meaningful in the end. I was also very fortunate to receive financial assistance from Ford.

What are you doing these days?
I retired from Ford about 20 years ago. I enjoyed my career and felt like attending Lawrence Tech really benefited me in my work. I’m proud of the fact that there are some parts still in production today that I worked on many years ago. But I can say I do like retirement better! Now that I'm retired, I have the chance to pursue my lifelong passion: designing and building sports cars. I've recruited other stylists and engineers from Ford to help me with the projects, and we just work right out of my home garage. I've also written and published four books, mostly since retirement, and have been involved in judging grade school and high school engineering competitions like Future City and FIRST Robotics. 

Why do feel it's important to give back to LTU?
When I worked at Ford, the university asked all of us there that were alumni to contribute. It just seemed like the right thing to do so, in 1980, I made my first gift and I've been doing it ever since. It's hard to imagine what my life would have been like without Lawrence Tech. I got so much out of attending and if I can help young people have those same opportunities, to make an impact, I'm happy to do it.

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