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Andre Dickerson takes lead on Student Involvement

Andre Dickerson never thought he would become a higher education administrator. But it is a role for which he is well suited. The Central Washington University alumnus will become his alma mater’s new director of Student Involvement.

“I’m very honored and excited about returning to Central to serve our students alongside the staff, faculty, and administrators who supported me in my personal, academic, and professional development,” Dickerson said.

Keith Champagne, CWU associate Dean for Student Development, added, “I am so honored that Andre has chosen to join the Student Development team. Central is getting a brilliant, special, talented, and gifted young professional who will have an immediate positive impact on all of our students.”

Dickerson navigated a rocky path to get to CWU. He was born and raised by a single mother, in admitted poverty, in south-central Los Angeles. By the time he turned 14 years old, he had already seen close friends die in gang-related violence, witnessed domestic abuse, and had a father who was incarcerated.

“I was definitely headed down the wrong path,” Dickerson acknowledged. “I dropped out of high school and found myself becoming influenced by the negative lifestyles of those around me.”

At the urging of his grandmother, he moved to Tacoma to live with her, taking the Greyhound bus, “with only the clothes on my back and a notebook full of rap lyrics,” he added, with smile. It proved to be a highway toward a better future.

At CWU, he was aided by the TRiO program, which offers low-income, first generation scholars help with academic development and student engagement. He became a research fellow, through the university’s McNair Scholars Program, and was the founding president of the campus organization Extraordinary Men Pursing Intellectual Readiness through Education (EMPIRE).

Dickerson has previously served CWU as an admissions counselor and student recruiter, coordinator for the College Assistance Migrant Program’s Dare to Dream Academy, co-founder of the Students for the Dream Living Learning Community, and advising student organizations, including the Black Student Union, Brother 2 Brother (B2B), and Male Success Initiative.

“He [Dickerson] will be an asset to CWU students, Student Success, and the university. More importantly, he will serve as an inspiration and role model for young men on our campus, especially young men of color,” Champagne noted.

Along with his 2012 CWU bachelor’s degree, Dickerson received a master’s degree from Heritage University, and is now completing his Master of Business Administration through Ohio University. Most recently, he was executive director of Hospice Friends, a Kittitas County, non-profit, volunteer agency, which helps families with relatives suffering from health issues.

Dickerson begins his new responsibilities on Wednesday, November 16. They include advising the Associated Students of CWU student government, and providing leadership and oversight for Campus Activities, student radio station KCWU, and student life activities and events at three Puget Sound-area University Centers: CWU-Des Moines, CWU-Lynnwood, and CWU-Pierce County.

“Central has truly been a special place for my family and I over the last 10 years and we look to forward creating more special memories for many years to come,” he said. “My life’s motto now is it doesn’t matter how your journey starts, what matters most is how it finishes.”

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