RADNOR, Pa. (May 21, 2018)—At Cabrini University’s graduate commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 20, Shirley Walker Dixon (’84, MEd’89) became the first person to ever receive a doctoral degree from the University. She earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership.
Dixon is now also the only graduate to have received a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree from Cabrini.
“Shirley Dixon is an integral part of Cabrini University in so many ways—she has served as a full-time faculty member at Cabrini as well leading college-wide diversity efforts as a full-time staff member, and is currently an integral member of Cabrini’s Board of Trustees,” said Jeff Gingerich, PhD, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “For all of these reasons, it’s meaningful that Shirley Dixon will receive the first academic doctoral degree from Cabrini University.”
No stranger to firsts, Dixon, in 1990, became the first African American to join the Cabrini Board of Trustees. In 2017, she received the inaugural Compass Award, which recognizes individuals whose continuous service serves to promote and defend dignity for all.
A longtime advocate for ensuring students receive an equitable education, Dixon was recognized by the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP as one of only 104 influential black women in Philadelphia for her service to the community.
Dixon has also taught Education at Cabrini as a full-time assistant professor from 2007 to 2016. Prior to that, she served as principal at Girard College Elementary School—another first, as she was the first African American to serve as principal at the school—after teaching fifth grade there.
Dixon’s dissertation is titled “Principals’ Perceptions of Multicultural Leadership in Urban Schools.”
About Cabrini University
Founded in 1957 by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Cabrini University is a Catholic institution that empowers students to become advocates of social change through an Education of the Heart, focusing on academic excellence, community engagement, and leadership development.
Cabrini enrolls approximately 1,650 undergraduates in more than 35 majors, pre-professional programs, concentrations, and minors on its serene 112-acre campus located 30 minutes from Philadelphia. The University also enrolls 800 students in graduate, doctoral, and professional studies programs at its main campus in Radnor, PA, and at five off-campus locations.