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Brent Dickson

BA 1964, History
HDR 1996, Liberal Arts

Associate Justice, Supreme Court of Indiana, Indianapolis, IN

If anyone understands Aesop’s maxim that slow and steady wins the race, it’s Brent E. Dickson, Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court. Sworn in as Chief Justice in August 2012 by former Indiana governor and now Purdue president Mitch Daniels, Dickson is the longest-serving member among the current five justices, and has served third-longest of any justice in Indiana history.

Dickson practiced law for 17 years in Lafayette before being appointed to the high court in 1986 by then-governor Robert Orr. Despite putting in many hours in court, he hasn’t forgotten how to have fun. A member of the Salty Dogs Jazz Band (one of his favorite Purdue memories), he reunited five members of the band from Purdue’s class of 1964 for a 2012 set at the Indianapolis Jazz Club.

Known for his work promoting attorney civility, his career in law has been its own reward.  “It is not a single moment, but the spectacular convergence of a lifetime of moments, that have confirmed my calling to public service,” he notes.

Purdue Influences

Professors such as Virgil Lokke, Walter Forster, George H. Mayer, Victor Albjerg, and Paul Million, and student activities such as the Purdue Exponent and student senate, all of which provided great inspiration and preparation. 

Purdue Memories

Playing piano with the Purdue Salty Dogs (an off-campus Dixieland band that existed from 1947 until the mid-1960s).

Purdue Now

The quality of its outstanding University presidents, administrators, and faculty—especially making teaching their top priority. 

Greatest Achievement

My enormous good fortune of being married to an exceptionally bright, accomplished, beautiful, and loving wife, Jan Aikman Dickson (BA 1964, History), whom I discovered when we were both Purdue undergraduates. Next I treasure our being the parents of three remarkable sons, each of whom is also Purdue graduates. (Editor’s note: That’s Jan Dickson joining Chief Justice Dickson for a visit with students at Liberty Elementary School in Hobart, Indiana, in the photo above.)

Living Person I Admire

I admire the integrity, insight, courage, and accomplishments of many individuals, but can't say that there is a single person I most admire.

Idea of Perfect Happiness

Living life as a follower of Jesus Christ and seeking to fulfill God's plan for my life.

What I’m Reading

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, Time for Truth: Living Free in a World of Lies, Hype, and Spin by Os Guinness, and The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen L. Carter

Profession I’d Like to Try

While there are many interesting things I may pursue in retirement, my present judicial profession is immensely challenging and satisfying, and I aspire to no other.