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New Jersey-born Brandt V. B. Dixon (1850 - 1941) was the first and only president of the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College; he was hired in 1887 at only 37 years old. Dixon had become a teacher due to his family’s financial troubles, and he began his education in a variety of subjects at a young age. He attended Amherst College and eventually graduated from Cornell University, where he studied engineering and played in the orchestra. During his time at Newcomb College, through 1919, Dixon aided the school’s development into a unique and highly accredited institution. One year before his retirement, he saw Newcomb move to its third campus, where it is now located adjacent to Tulane University; Tulane’s music department building bears his name. Dixon was described by Tulane historian John Dyer as “plump, bushy browed and ruggedly handsome…a captivating speaker, a man of broad culture.” This austere portrait of Dixon by Tulane faculty member William Woodward captures that essence, depicting the president in his academic robes.
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