Mrs. Sallie White Nixon in loving memory of her husband Caldwell W. Nixon
The Caldwell W. Nixon scholarship was initially established by Sallie W. Nixon in July of 2001 in memory of her husband, Caldwell Westmoreland Nixon.
Born and raised on a farm in Lincoln County, Caldwell Nixon was a World War II veteran, an area director of the Veterans Administration in Nebraska and West Virginia, and a member of the board of directors of 14 service-related organizations. He retired in 1973 and returned to Lincoln County where he continued to be an advocate for physical fitness and education. He was instrumental in starting the N. C. Senior Olympic Games in Raleigh and was a runner who won hundreds of medals. He was also a leader in the development of the Lincoln Cultural Center and helped open the East Lincoln Branch Library. He was influential in the renovation of the old Lincolnton High School into a home for Gaston College and the Senior Center, where a room bears his name.
Ms. Sallie Nixon, herself a native North Carolinian, was a devoted wife and mother who followed her husband’s career for many years. They moved to Lincoln, Nebraska in 1967, one year after their handicapped son, and only child, passed away at the age of 23. Unable to attend college directly from high school, Ms. Nixon enrolled as a freshman at Nebraska University at the age of 56 in 1969. Initially she feared that she would be the oldest person in her classes, and she was. However, she wrote in a journal of her poetry class, “Poetry is a bond and age seems not to matter at all . . . each of us has something to offer the other . . . the thing that matters is receptivity.” She graduated from NU in 1973 Phi Beta Kappa and later went on to graduate studies at Marshall University in American poetry and American history after her husband was transferred to Huntington, West Virginia. Upon Mr. Nixon’s retirement, the two moved back to North Carolina where Mrs. Nixon taught briefly in the public schools. She was also very active in the Poetry-in-Schools programs in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Lincoln County schools. Upon her death in 2008, the bulk of her estate was bequeathed to her alma mater, Nebraska University, and Gaston College for the Caldwell W. Nixon Scholarship at Gaston College.