Students called him “Action Joe” during his tenure as PC’s dean of students and then vice president for student affairs from 1977 to 2004.
This year, Joe ’62 and Mica ’79 Nixon are two of the newest members inducted into the WPJ Society.
Joe arrived at PC in 1958. He walked onto the football team during his freshman year and earned a football scholarship over the last three years. Joe also served in ROTC and earned the rank of first lieutenant when he graduated.
He left campus after he earned his degree but returned shortly after. Legendary PC football coach Cally Gault offered Joe a coaching position as Joe was completing his commitment to the Army. Four years later, Dr. Fred Chapman, the academic dean at the time, encouraged Joe to go into higher education administration. Two later presidents recognized and acknowledged Joe’s administrative talent: Dr. Marc Weersing named Joe dean of students in 1977; later, Dr. John Griffith named “Action Joe” the vice president for student affairs and dean of students in 2001.
“I am indebted to these and many others who believed in me,” Joe said.
“PC was simply the right place for me. Here I have rubbed shoulders with and been leveraged by the caliber of countless associations and students who continue to enlarge my own life.”
In 1996, Joe retired after a 28-year military career from the South Carolina Army National Guard with the rank of Brigadier General. He was inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame in 2011.
In 2002, the South Carolina College Personnel Association honored Joe by establishing the Joseph O. Nixon Award for Chief Student Affairs Professionals. The award is presented annually to a college or university professional who has made outstanding contributions to his or her campus and to the field of student affairs, has shown a commitment to students and has demonstrated leadership for student professionals in South Carolina.
Also in 2002, Mica and their children, Tracie ‘89 and Bryant, recognized Joe’s leadership qualities by establishing the Joseph O. Nixon Leadership Award.
The award recognizes a graduating senior who over the course of his or her PC education has demonstrated superior qualities of leadership on behalf of the college community.
Mica’s mother, Jean Brock, established the Bessie Copeland Nixon Scholarship Fund in 1992 to help students in the ROTC program while also honoring Joe and his mother.
PC bestowed the title vice president of student life and dean of students emeritus for his loyal service to the College in 2013.
Mica has been equally involved in the campus, church, and local communities. After completing her degree at PC, she taught in Laurens District 56 schools from 1980 through 1997.
Along with Joe, Mica opened up their home to PC students over the years. The Nixons showed generations of students hospitality and caring that PC alumni have remembered fondly.
Mica has lived out the College motto, “While We Live, We Serve,” by serving residents at the Presbyterian Community in Clinton. There, she worked part time with activities and community relations from 1998 through 2006. In subsequent years, she has taken the residents homemade food and homegrown flowers, driven residents to appointments, and provided residents an opportunity to interact with those from outside the retirement community.
Mica is a stalwart at First Presbyterian Church in Clinton, having served in numerous programs and on virtually every committee at some point at the church. Joe has served as a ruling elder at the church, and Mica is currently serving as a ruling elder. They both served from 2011-2013 on Board of Visitors Thornwell Home and School for Children.
PC and First Presbyterian Church recognized Mica’s efforts by bestowing upon her the Martha Anne Green Service to Church and College Award in 2014.
Mica and Joe jointly received the Thomas Aurelius Stallworth ’55 Alumni Award in 2009. The award recognized the Nixons for embodying the best characteristics of Stallworth’s Christian leadership. Through their selfless service to others, the Nixons demonstrated strong and bold character, integrity, moral courage, and the values you would expect from a true neighbor and friend.
Joe and Mica have given their resources to the College as well. They’ve faithfully given to the PC Fund and the Scotsman Club throughout the years, achieving the Walter Johnson Medallion level in the Scotsman Club.
In addition, they have given to the Bailey Memorial Stadium project, the Coach Cally Gault Scholarship, the Coach Frank Jones Memorial Scholarship, the Neville Renewed campaign, and the Promise of PC Strategic Initiatives.