A true student-athlete, Dodson graduated with a degree in chemistry from Kalamazoo College in Michigan while playing football and running track during the day and shoveling coal to heat the campus at night. He went on to earn his PhD in organic chemistry from Michigan State University before spending 35 years as a professor and subsequent chair of the chemistry department at Lewis & Clark.
During his tenure at the college, Dodson served as codirector of the Environmental Studies Program; acting athletic director; interim and acting dean of faculty; and acting provost. For his contributions to college athletics, both the Lewis & Clark College Athletics Department and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) inducted him into their Halls of Fame. In 2014, Lewis & Clark awarded him the Donald G. Balmer Citation for outstanding service to the college.
He spent the turbulent 1964 Summer of Freedom in Jackson, Mississippi, supporting voter registration as part of the civil rights movement unfolding across the state. From 1967 to 1968, he was a visiting professor at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, a public, historically Black, land-grant university in Greensboro. In 1972, his love of learning and adventure took Dodson, his family, and 24 students to Ghana, West Africa, for six months as part of Lewis & Clark’s overseas study program. That excursion established the groundwork for Ghanaian students to enroll at Lewis & Clark.
During most of his retirement, he lived in Lake Oswego, Oregon. In 2020, he and his wife, Marion, moved to Wisconsin to live with son Peter Dodson BS ’81, MAT ’99 and daughter-in-law Lisa Grill Dodson BA ’81. Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Marion; his four sons, Michael Dodson BS ’80, Peter (see above), Kenneth Dodson, an L&C staff member, and Arleigh Dodson; seven grandchildren, including Sam Dodson BA ’13; and two great-grandchildren. A celebration of life will be held on March 13, 2022, in Agnes Flanagan Chapel.