Andrea Hayes Dixon ’87, MED ’91, Doctor of Science

Andrea Hayes Dixon receives her honorary degree

(Photo by Herb Swanson)


ANDREA HAYES DIXON, as a pioneering pediatric surgeon and passionate researcher and educator, you’ve shattered glass ceilings in medicine and higher education while dedicating your life to the fight against pediatric cancer.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, you expressed your desire to be a “baby doctor” ever since you could talk. Determined to make that dream a reality, you came to Dartmouth, earning your undergraduate degree in religion in 1987 before going on to earn your medical degree from the Geisel School of Medicine in 1991. 

After years of intensive training and with the encouragement of outstanding mentors, including Drs. Thomas Colacchio and the late Claude Organ, you became the first African American woman to become a board-certified pediatric surgeon in the United States.

In 2006, you pioneered the use of heated chemotherapy to treat children with the rare and devastating cancer known as desmoplastic round small cell tumor. You have since performed hundreds more of these procedures in pediatric patients, doubling their chances at survival from 30 to 60 percent, and traveled the world to teach others how to perform the life-saving procedure, as well.

In addition to treating patients, you work tirelessly with students and colleagues in the lab to identify the origins of rare cancers and find a way to prevent them, while educating the next generation of leaders in medicine as Dean of the Howard University College of Medicine, the first Black woman in history to serve in that role. 

For your extraordinary contributions to the medical field, your exemplary leadership in higher education, and your commitment to providing hope to childhood cancer patients and their families, Dartmouth is proud to award you the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.

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