WACO, Texas -
Allison Dickson's (JD '07) story of perseverance, faith, love for Baylor, and hard work — which enabled her to graduate first in her class while living daily with the physical challenges of Muscular Dystrophy (MD) — has inspired many. In fact, her story touched thousands and became a Baylor social media sensation.
One of Allison's dreams is to give back permanently and leave a lasting legacy of helping others through an endowed scholarship in her name at Baylor Law School.
When Allison decided to create an endowed scholarship last fall, she was up against a five-year deadline to raise a minimum endowment level of $50,000. Much like the time at 15 months of age when she was diagnosed with MD and given one year to live, or the time in 2014 during a serious illness and five-month hospitalization when doctors did not expect her to ever breathe without life support or talk again (both of which she does), Allison and her support system weren't daunted.
Thanks to family, friends, classmates, Baylor staff and alumni, the Central Texas community, and anonymous donors, the goal was met and surpassed in less than nine months! If you know Allison, you're likely not surprised – not only is she determined, but her genuine warmth, kindness, and positivity make you want to be a part of making her dreams reality.
If you don't know Allison, after meeting her your life will never be the same. Her sparkplug spirit is contagious, and her never-give-up attitude will force you to reevaluate the things in life we may grumble about without thinking.
To ensure the scholarship was in place and assisting current students while Allison could see it in action and inspire its recipients, this past August she partnered with a high school friend from their hometown of Temple, Texas, to throw the party of the year. Bill DiGaetano owns the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema franchises in Dallas/Fort Worth. Wanting to help, Bill was quickly onboard with #TeamAlli and suggested holding an event at one of his theaters with proceeds going to the scholarship. Realizing Allison wouldn't be able to travel to DFW in her medically fragile condition to attend, Bill switched gears and decided to bring the fun to Allison and their Temple community to be near Allison's home and her medical team at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center.
On August 19, the Alamo Roadshow presented the "As You Wish" Movie Under the Stars – which included a free showing of the Princess Bride on a 40' outdoor screen, food trucks, beverages, kid-friendly activities (a bounce house, inflatable swords, masks, a fencing demonstration), full access to the art at the venue's Cultural Activities Center, and an amazing silent auction with over 50 donated items. Donations were accepted, and businesses sponsored the event to support the scholarship. With a month to organize and publicize, approximately 1,500 people attended the festivities, and nearly $25,000 was raised to surpass the endowment requirement!
Do not think Allison has any intention of stopping here; her heart of philanthropy is large and strong, and donations can always be made to the scholarship fund. Although she has left a far greater legacy than she could have ever imagined, now generations of future Baylor Lawyers will be able to attain their dreams and their education with the help of the Allison Dickson Endowed Baylor Law Scholarship!
A special thank you to Ethan Lange, JD '08, for supporting Allison and sharing this story.
ABOUT BAYLOR LAW SCHOOL
Established in 1857, Baylor Law School was one of the first law schools in Texas and one of the first west of the Mississippi River. Today, the school has more than 7,400 living alumni. It is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Baylor Law School has a record of producing outstanding lawyers, many of whom decide upon a career in public service. The Law School boasts two governors, members or former members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, two former directors of the FBI, U.S. ambassadors, federal judges, justices of the Texas Supreme Court and members of the Texas Legislature, among its notable alumni. In its law specialties rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Baylor Law's trial advocacy program as #4 in the nation. Baylor Law School is also ranked #55 in the magazine's 2017 edition of "America's Best Graduate Schools." The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the "Best School for Practical Training," and #4 in the nation in its most recent "Best Law School Facilities" listing. The Business Insider places Baylor Law among the top 50 law schools in the nation. Baylor Law School received the 2015 American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award, making it only the third law school in the nation to be honored with the award since the award's inception in 1984.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 D1 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big XII Conference. Learn more at baylor.edu