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Legendary Wallace-Dothan Educator Named AU College of Education Alumnus of the Year

5/24/2016

Dothan, Ala. – For Dr. Imogene Mathison Mixson, deciding what she wanted to do in life was easy. “I came into this world knowing that I wanted to be a teacher,” she once said, and for 37 years, she practiced her resolve. Little did she know she would become a legendary instructor and an avid supporter of education. In April, she was named Auburn University College of Education Outstanding Alumnus at the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Annual Awards Recognition Ceremony for the AU College of Education.

Wallace Community College-Dothan was one of the fortunate institutions to have been gifted with her guidance and gift for educating others. “In 1968 I was a student in her English Literature 262 class at Enterprise State Junior College, now Enterprise Community College. She possessed the innate ability to make the subject matter ‘come alive’ for students,” said Dr. Linda C. Young, WCCD president. “Without a doubt, she is the most capable and inspiring teacher I ever had at any level.” Dr. Young nominated Dr. Mixson for the Auburn College of Education Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Dr. Mixson’s influence on others began with her childhood teachers influence on her. “I was ‘playing school’ before I started to school, and I loved my first grade teacher, Mrs. Jewell Hudson. She is a dear, lifelong friend who still lives in Ozark,” Mixson said. “I knew from childhood that I wanted to be an English teacher.”

She began her teaching career as a high school English teacher in Dothan and eventually joined Wallace Community College-Dothan as an English instructor. Later, as academic dean and interim president, Dr. Mixson was instrumental in expanding the College’s health science programs, a move that propelled WCCD into the expanding healthcare infrastructure in the Wiregrass.

Dr. Mixson’s years of service in the Alabama Community College System include stints as an English instructor, department chair, and academic dean. She also served as interim president – twice. She has been honored as teacher of the year and administrator of the year, and was named an outstanding Auburn University Woman Graduate in 1992 as part of the Celebration of the Centennial of the Admission of Women to Auburn University.

She shares her experience through conferences and workshops locally and nationally.  A loyal alumnus, she says that she has “enjoyed a lifelong love affair with Auburn University.” The Alumnus of the Year award is especially meaningful to her. “This award is truly an exciting culmination of my relationship with Auburn,” she said.

“I appreciate my storehouse of memories. Seeing numerous students achieve their hopes and dreams and make significant contributions in many ways and places,” said Dr. Mixson. She is quick to point out that Dr. Young is one of her star students.

Dr. Mixson earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary English education from Troy University in 1959 before completing a master’s degree in English education at Auburn in 1963. She earned a Ph.D. in English education from Florida State University in 1972.

“Wallace Community College has been blessed to have Dr. Mixson as an instructor, administrator, friend, and an advocate for education,” said Dr. Young, WCCD president. “She is the standard that dedicated educators aspire to be like.”

Dr. Mixson’s story continues as it began, with a resolve to help others. In 2006, to honor her husband, she established the David Whigham Mixson Endowed Scholarship at Auburn University.  In 2011 she endowed the Dr. Imogene Mathison Mixson Endowed Scholarship through the Wallace Community College Foundation. Two years later she established the David Whigham Mixson Memorial Endowed Scholarship through the Foundation. Both WCCD Foundation scholarships are awarded to students in academic transfer or health sciences. “Through these scholarships, Dr. Mixson inspires others to reach beyond themselves for the creation of a better world for themselves and others,” Dr. Young said.

She also influenced faculty along the way. “Dr. Mixson served as academic dean at WCCD during my early years as an instructor,” said Tony Holland, now WCCD dean of instruction. “Her ‘lead by example’ approach provided the mentoring and encouragement I needed to continuously improve in the environment she created, which was conducive to self-motivation and extraordinarily high standards for faculty.”

Dr. Mixson accepts the accolades with the same humility as her approach to service. “Both lifelong learning and lifelong service are very important to me, and I am grateful for the extraordinary opportunities I have had,” she said. “I am grateful for so many people who have helped me in so many ways for years: my parents and husband, extended family, teachers and classmates and hundreds of former students. I have been truly blessed.”


Because of Dr. Imogene Mathison Mixson, a native and lifelong resident of Skipperville/Ozark and a dedicated education benefactor, future students will continue their education and lead others by her example.

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