Oscar-nominated musician DIXSON to deliver keynote address at Wooster’s 2022 Commencement Ceremony

Darius Scott Dixson '13

Oscar-nominated musician Darius Scott Dixson ’13, known as “DIXSON” professionally, will serve as the keynote speaker for the Class of 2022 Commencement ceremony, held Monday, May 16, outdoors at John Papp Stadium at The College of Wooster.

DIXSON, a singer, songwriter, and producer who plays 11 instruments, stepped into the national spotlight in 2016 as part of Pharrell’s team on NBC’s The Voice. Shortly after he left the show, he was signed by record label Roc Nation and has since collaborated with notable musicians, including Kim Burrell, Peter CottonTale, Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa, Pharrell Williams and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. He also more recently worked with Justin Bieber on the acoustic version of the hit track, “Holy.” And in 2021, he wrote and produced his first solo album with Roc Nation, entitled “Darling,” releasing singles such as “Summertime.Fin,” “Aura,” and “BIG BRAVE MAN”—a song dedicated to his father who passed away in 2019.

In 2022, DIXSON received an Oscar nomination in the Best Original Song category for the music and lyrics of “Be Alive” from the motion picture King Richard, alongside Beyoncé. The song plays during the credits for the film that focuses on the story of the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams.

A POSSE Scholar from Atlanta, DIXSON graduated from Wooster in 2013, with a self-designed major in arts and media management. While at Wooster, he was part of several ensembles including the Wooster Chorus, The Wooster Fragments, the Wooster Jazz Ensemble, and he served as the music director of his on-campus band, Freddie Cool. In 2010, he became a brother of Xi Chi Psi and also a member of the Black Student Association (BSA). In 2011, Dixson studied abroad in Paris, concentrating in French business and fashion merchandising.

He began his senior year at the peak of the SoundCloud era and worked with advisor Denise Bostdorff, professor of communication studies, to complete an Independent Study that examined how film can be used to instruct independent music artists on branding and promotion, including a short documentary called The Grey Area, a compilation of interviews with independent music artists, music industry executives, music producers, songwriters, and entertainment lawyers sharing his passion for educating independent music artists on the best practices in promotion and branding.

As a student, DIXSON held internship roles at MTV, The National Conference of Black Mayors, and was a founding team member of the streetwear brand, KITH.

“My time at Wooster was formative. I wanted to do everything, and the environment here made me feel like I could. My professors were my superheroes. The individualized attention I received here was top rate. I was spoiled, but extremely challenged. I love that about this place. There is an opportunity for every student to thrive, and there is an advisor, if not multiple, for each student. That is the MAGIC of Wooster.”

In addition to DIXSON, members of the Class of 2022 selected two student speakers from among their ranks. This year’s student speakers will be Jenna Smith, a sociology major from Vermillion, Ohio, and Benton Thompson IV, a POSSE Scholar and archaeology major from Atlanta, Georgia.

Approximately 430 students are expected to receive degrees from Wooster. President Sarah Bolton will welcome those gathered for the ceremony, an invocation will be provided by Rev. David Rice, pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Wooster and trustee, and a benediction by Rev. Dr. Enikö Ferenczy, pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Wooster. Alumni board president Sandeep Bhatia ‘89 will welcome the new graduates to the community of Wooster alumni.

Seniors and families who don’t come to campus will be able to access livestreams of many Commencement events as well as digital programs. For more information on the full schedule of events and guest services, visit the Commencement website at wooster.edu/commencement.


Photo: Jaron Menzimer

Posted in News on May 4, 2022.