2000 Distinguished Service Award
John F. Bacon ’38
When John “Ham” Bacon arrived at Dickinson in 1934, he quickly became an integral member of the campus community. Aside from receiving “a good, broad-based education” as a history major, he was involved in Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, Raven’s Claw, Skull and Key, Microcosm, Young People’s Fellowship Council, Dramatic Club, Mohler Scientific Club, Men’s Glee Club, college choir, men’s soccer team and men’s track and field team.
After graduation, his allegiance to the college remained strong. Following jobs with the Savings Bank of Baltimore, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and the Pennington School–as well as five years of wartime service in the United States Navy–he returned to Dickinson in 1949 to become the college’s first development officer. During his year in that position, he met then-Dean of Women Phoebe Follmer. Soon they were married.
In the early 1950s, he returned to the Navy, serving five more years. He then moved on to St. Paul’s School in Brooklandville, Md., where he worked as property manager.
Over the years, he’s maintained his devotion to his alma mater through extensive
participation in the Baltimore alumni club and by holding positions as class chairman and reunion chairman. He’s recommended numerous students to Dickinson, including his daughter, Laurie Bacon Meister ’84. His son-in-law, Chip Meister ’84 is a Dickinson graduate as well. Indeed, the Bacons are a Dickinson family. His parents—Lewis M. Bacon, Jr. ’02 (member of the Dickinson College Board of Trustees from 1930-53) and Ruth Heller Bacon ’12—also held Dickinson degrees.
Beyond Dickinson, he’s been a participating member of Paul’s Place Soup Kitchen, Viva House Shelter for Homeless Women and Children and the ARC African Famine Relief. He has also worked for the Maryland Human Relations Commission, served as the first director of the Baltimore County Anti-Poverty Program, acted as director of the Baltimore Community Action Agency, held a governor-appointed term as chairman of the board of directors for the Maryland Advocacy Unit for Development Disabilities and sat on the Board of Directors of Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc. As a member of the Rotary Club, he spent many years enlisting the Club to donate a book apiece to each of 100 kindergartners at an inner city school.
Bacon is honored—“even a little flabbergasted”—to be considered a model Dickinsonian. “As a member of the third generation [of Bacons] at Dickinson,” he says, “you can rest assured that Dickinson has meant a lot to me over the years.”
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