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Brian W. Dickinson

(1938-2002) ~ Inducted 1999

Brian W. Dickinson earned a master's in political science from Brown in 1973 and went on to become a columnist for The Providence Journal, writing on a wide range of topics such as life in Providence, the arts, domestic and foreign policy. In 1983, he led a group of American editors touring Russia and wasn't afraid to proclaim his pride in his own country by singing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" outside KGB headquarters. He was instrumental in planning the innaguaral Brown University/Providence Journal Public Affairs Conference in 1980 and continued to secure key speakers and offer ideas on how to approach the topics each year thereafter until the 1990s. Dickinson was also a chairman of The Providence Journal's editorial board and received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Brown 1999.

Dickinson was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) in 1994. He battled the disease bravely, continuing to write his column using a series of sophisticated equipment. Brian Dickinson's wife Barbara and their three sons worked tirelessly to care for him and help him continue his career as the disease took it's toll on his body.

After learning of his fatal diagnosis, he notably wrote:

     Seize the moment. Make it your own. One never has quite enough moments, although we don't
     know this when we are young. Then, if we look ahead, we see an endless stream full of moments,
     so many we could never count them, and all of them ours for the taking. Before we know it, though,
     the stream has shrunk dramatically and the available moments are growing scarce: and we wish
     we had gone after them more assiduously when the stream was full. So we say again: Seize the 
     moment, while you can. Forgive. Smile. Walk. (Oh, do walk when you can.) Share. Reach. Laugh.
     Teach. Learn. Run. Believe. Lift. Climb.

      Understand. Explore. Give. Appreciate. And since you can never do it all, savor the small moments
     that, aggregated, become great. Stay in the game — oh, and do remember to look after the birds."

Dickinson died on May 4, 2002. He was survived by his wife, their three sons, their spouses and two grandchildren. He served as an inspiration to others suffering from terminal illnesses.

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