ARC president Melanie Dixon to resign at the end of the semester

Family is the reason behind the decision for Dixon leaving


Melanie Dixon said goodbye to staff and faculty at a farewell gathering on Dec. 6 at American River College. (Photo by Lorraine Barron)

On Dec. 6, a farewell gathering was held at American River College for president Melanie Dixon. Faculty, staff and students from the different areas of the Los Rios Community College District were present. 

Dixon, who announced her decision to resign in an email to faculty and staff on Nov. 3, says she is still recovering from long standing effects of a previous battle with COVID-19. 

“When you are older it takes a little longer to get over, “ Dixon said.

There were other family matters that contributed to Dixon’s decision to move back to the Pacific Northwest. It will allow Dixon to be close to her mom, daughter and grandson. 

According to Dixon, when she started contemplating the process of leaving to be with family,  a priority was where ARC was and what needed to be done.

“My first commitment was to get the college through accreditation,” Dixon said. “We finished up that particular process.”

With all the changes the college is going through, Dixon wanted to make sure the next president had an input in the vision of the college’s future. 

“I don’t want to make promises I can’t control,” Dixon said. “I just want to help keep the college moving in the right direction.”

According to Dixon, Los Rios Community College District chancellor Brian King has given her the opportunity to make  recommendations on the interim president. 

“[My] recommendation, I believe, would allow the college comfort and familiarity,” Dixon said. “While also that person understands the work that’s underway. So we don’t lose momentum.”

Dixon has made it clear that this move is about family and not financial reasons or the stains of the position. She has taken a vice president position up north that will be less pay.

“I don’t do this work for the pay. I do this work to change lives and be a contributor,” Dixon said. “This particular position will allow me to do this.”

At the farewell Dixon thanked everyone for coming, King joined her and wanted to give everyone the opportunity to say something about Dixon. 

“Melanie has been a superstar from the first time she came to our district,” King said. “And I think it’s a real tribute to Melanie that she made a decision not based on professional advancement.”

King shared that this decision for Dixon was about family and not a better opportunity.

“I just want to give everybody a chance to [talk] about an encounter you had with Melanie that just encapsulates how special she’s been,” King said. 

Several members took the time to share memories, feelings and inspiration that Dixon has given. The room was filled with tears, smiles and joy. 

People in the room shared how Dixon has the ability to connect to people. That she always puts the student first. Dixon’s ability to put things in perspective and get them done. 

According to anthropology professor Lauren Chavez, Dixon has always been approachable and fair. 

“Melanie is honest and means what she says,” Chavez said. 

After everyone in the room shared, King took the time to share a little more of his thoughts. 

“It just shows you that if a comet shines brightly that the length of the period you have a leader is not as important as the impact that they make,” King said.

King, with tears in his eyes, encouraged everyone to not wait until moments like these to let someone know the impact they make on your life. 

“We are going to miss you Melanie,” King said.

Dixon, also with tears in her eyes, shared how she appreciates everyone and shared she knows that the Beavers will continue to do great work. 

Dixon took time to share her feelings on the community of ARC.

“To our students, my experience at ARC will forever be imprinted on the heart and mind based on just watching how incredibly our students navigated challenges and taught us what they needed in this new environment,” Dixon said. “Our students are amazing at ARC and across the region and deserve a huge thank you for moving our system forward.”

Dixon shared that she learned so much from students, faculty and staff.

“You all have touched my heart so much, [you] all are so amazing,” Dixon said. “You all have had an impact on my life, I just love you all and am going to miss you so much.”