Marilyn Dixon retires after 28 years at Fermilab

Marilyn Dixon

Shortly after Marilyn Dixon came to work at Fermilab in 1988, Leon Lederman won the Nobel Prize in physics. It was a celebratory time for the laboratory and a memorable beginning for Dixon, who continued to work for Fermilab for the next 28-and-half years.

Her decades-long service to Fermilab is now coming to a close. Her last day at the lab is April 21.

“Marilyn was great to work with,” said former Fermilab Chief Operating Officer Bruce Chrisman. “She managed to keep me prepared for my activities, and I don’t think I was ever late for a meeting thanks to her diligence. All this while keeping up with the many routine tasks I was able to trust to her.”

Many know Dixon as the one who for more than 25 years maintained NALCAL, the reliably up-to-date calendar of the week’s seminars and talks. Others know her as the admin who oversaw Fermilab’s implementation of the DOE foreign-travel system when it was first moved from a manual to an automated, online system. Dixon served as the foreign-travel point of contact for years afterward. And anyone who’s submitted a Facilities Request Form since 2005 knows her as a stickler for detail.

Having served as administrative support for numerous assistant and associate directors, including three recent chief operating officers, Dixon has kept the laboratory gears turning, ensuring that tasks are tended to and that no detail is missed.

“Her patience was exemplary,” Chrisman said. “An example of this is that, of the five or six assistants I had while at the lab, she was the one with the longest time working with me. In other words she, survived me and maintained her equanimity.”

Dixon said that the greatest privilege of working at Fermilab was getting to know her colleagues.

“Working in the Directorate gave me the opportunity to meet and work with people from all of the divisions and sections across the laboratory — the people are the best,” Dixon said. “That’s the best part of landing where I landed.”

Dixon first came to the lab as an on-call staff member, working for one week as a receptionist. The receptionist position eventually became vacant, and Dixon received a call to work in the position again for one month while the lab conducted an employee search. She applied and got the job.

For the last two years, Dixon has been working for the Neutrino Division, which introduced her to inner workings of the lab’s more scientific operations.

Dixon hopes to participate in volunteer work during retirement. She also has plans to spend more time with her family, including her grandchildren, and in her vacation home in Colorado. She’ll fill her free time with gardening, reading, taking walks, bike rides, and any other outdoor activities she can work into her schedule.

“I will definitely miss the daily association with all my co-workers,” she said.

Wish Dixon well at her retirement reception on Thursday, April 20, between 2 and 4 p.m. on the second-floor crossover in Wilson Hall.