Newman alumnus Anthony Dozier recently received the Building Bridges Award as part of National TRIO Day on Feb. 21.
TRIO programs were created to offer federally funded college opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty.
According to the Council for Opportunity in Education, TRIO serves more than 800,000 low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities throughout its 3,100 national programs. These include academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring and financial guidance among other services.
In 1964, the Educational Opportunity Act established an experimental program known as Upward Bound.
Dozier is one of
“The Upward Bound program helped me when I didn’t have anywhere else to go or lay my head,” Dozier said. “In the ‘70s, my family broke up and disintegrated. It was a hard time. To get
Upward Bound not only gave Dozier a roof over his
“When I was at home and my family was still together, I was surrounded by academic stars,” he said. “My brother and sister were academic stars and I thought they would have graduated from college long before I did. But that’s not how life has it.”
Dozier was the first of his family to attend and graduate from college, and in 2008 he received his degree in business administration from Newman University.
“I met some very beautiful people, and the faculty and staff is outstanding,” Dozier said. “There are a few that I can name that I am so proud of and that I had the privilege of being taught by, because they were that good. Dr. (Lori) Steiner, Dr. (Ron) Ryan, Dr. (Joe) McElroy, Professor (Mary) Werner, Professor Wendy (Sahatjian) Monday. I could just go on and on and on.”
“I’d like to thank Newman University, because it gave me opportunity when I applied for it, and when no one else gave me opportunity,” Dozier added.
Dozier took classes with Werner, an associate professor of art, while he was an undergraduate student at Newman, and she told him something that he will never forget.
On the last day of class, he said, Werner told him: “Anthony, I see something very special within you. You’ve been a tiger caged too long. I’m opening up the gate and letting the tiger out. Don’t ever come back to the cage.”
“And I haven’t,” Dozier said. “She brought out and unleashed that which was in me that I really loved to do, which is creating.”
Before he makes any art piece, Dozier says “prayer goes up first.” He also uses a ruler and a pencil, but no machines.
“I hand-cut recycled pieces because I want that potential customer to know that it was created with that sincere, tender-loving care,” he said. “And that they all are made in good spirit.”
Dozier created a piece he calls “She’s Is She,” and asked a relative to write a poem to it.
“It’s just using lines and repurposed materials, and to me, it represents a woman victorious. Her arms are up and there’s this positivity shooting into the heavens.”
One of Dozier’s inspirations as an artist is the human experience, and “how we all view the world a little differently.” He is a firm believer in the idea that “good things come to those who do good,” so Dozier channels some of this energy into his creative works.
Even though difficult life experiences still remain, Dozier is grateful for every moment he has.
“On Dec. 19, I was on my bed of affliction and I didn’t know if I was going to make it,” he said. “I had an acute case of pneumonia and I wasn’t going to cure it — no other way than going to the hospital. Either go or die.
“My wife got me there, and 30 days after, I was standing in the State Capitol of Topeka having the blessed privilege to display pieces of art that we have created. I said to my soul and myself, ‘This is a miracle.’”
In the coming weeks, Dozier will celebrate his birthday and receive the National Regional TRIO Award in Kansas City, Missouri.
“There have been times in my life when I thought that good wouldn’t come,” he said. “But here it is — 2019 has seemed like it’s been an ascension. And lately, it’s one good thing after another. It’s been overwhelmingly joyful and I’m thankful to God.”
Dozier’s artwork can be found on Facebook at “Anthony Dozier” and Instagram at “anthonys_art56.”