Allison Dickson, J.D. ’07

W.R. White Meritorious Service Award

Allison Dickson, J.D. ’07
Allison Dickson, J.D. ’07

At 15 months old, Allison Dickson was diagnosed with a very rare form of muscular dystrophy called Werdnig-Hoffman, and her parents were told she wouldn’t live to see the age of 3. Now, 40 years later, Dickson is giving back to her community through volunteering, activism and philanthropy, as well as working for both Baylor Law School and Patterson Law Group. 

Reflecting on the namesake of the W.R. White Meritorious Service Award, Dickson said Baylor’s former President White’s story inspired and resonated with her. 

She recounted that President White himself had a difficult childhood. “He had illness, he went through trials and tribulations, and went on to become one of Baylor’s preeminent presidents,” Dickson said. “His spirit was one of perseverance, and giving back, and hoping to impact others through service, through his love and dedication to Baylor and the Baylor Family.”

Dickson was accepted into both Baylor and University of Texas’s law programs. She chose Baylor. Before classes officially started, Dickson participated in a mock class during orientation.  

“It was so intense and nothing I’d ever experienced before,” Dickson said. “I came home and I cried and I said, ‘Mom, I can’t do this. This is not for me.’ And she looked at me... and said, “Allison, if this is something you really want to do, you’ve always done what you’ve set your mind to. This will be no different.” 

Dickson’s response was to accept the challenge. “I do want to do this,” she said. “This is what I see in my future.”

Her whole life, Dickson has lived by the motto, “I don’t need easy. I just need possible.” She has approached every challenge with perseverance and relentless positivity.   

Dickson graduated first in her class with her Juris Doctor degree. She was sworn into the State Bar of Texas as a licensed attorney and began working as a legal research assistant for Baylor Law School. She worked in this role for seven years.

In February of 2014, Dickson became very ill. She went into septic shock and respiratory failure. The doctors predicted she would never be able to eat or drink, breathe or speak on her own again, and certainly never be able to return home. Dickson returned home after a five-month hospital stay.

This brush with death animated Dickson in new ways to use her time, voice and reach to make a difference in the lives of others.  

Since her illness in 2014, Dickson has created three fully endowed scholarships for students attending her alma maters of Temple High School, Southwestern University and Baylor Law School. Dickson partners with Baylor Scott & White Children’s Hospital for a holiday gift drive and works with the Temple Independent School District to collect clothes, shoes and other items for the homeless students and their families. She is on the Board of Directors of the Variety Peaceable Kingdom and created a Little Library in her front yard. It is impossible to exhaust the list of Dickson’s volunteer and philanthropy efforts in her community and beyond.  

In the last year, Allison resumed her role as a research assistant at Baylor Law and joined Patterson Law Group, based in Fort Worth, Texas, in addition to continuing her philanthropy and volunteer efforts. 

“I try to live by love, kindness, perseverance.” Dickson said. “And I really, truly believe that God is not done with me. There is more for me to do, more for me to give back and share, and hopefully impact other lives. And I pray I can reflect God’s love in the work that I do.”