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Spreading the Love for HSU

Keith Dodgen with his familyThe first things in sight at Innovation First headquarters are giant robotic bugs hanging from the ceiling and a large open-concept layout featuring colorful zones complete with toys, computers and people.

Keith Dodgen '05 is the Creative Director for his company which created the toy line called HEXBUG, the educational robotics program called VEX Robotics, and the server rack company called RackSolutions. The VEX Robotics Competition is the largest robotics competition in the world, and HEXBUG toys can be found everywhere toys are sold. They even have a toy license with the popular combat robots show, BattleBots. Keith's main job is to create TV commercials for the toys and inspiring videos for the robotics program, all right there on site in Greenville, about 40 miles east of Dallas.

Keith currently serves on the Board of Young Associates as the Vice President for the Dallas/Fort Worth area and genuinely loves HSU and faithfully supports the institution in a multitude of ways. At Hardin-Simmons, his creativity was encouraged and developed by loving teachers, advisors, and friends. Below are some answers to questions that explain why he's so passionate about giving back to HSU.

So when did you attend HSU?
2001-2005

Why did you choose HSU?
I wanted a university where I would be more than just a number, where I could know and be known by my professors. After visiting HSU, I fell in love with the campus, the art program, the leadership program, and the World Famous Cowboy Band. It was home.

Keith Dodgen at workWho were your most memorable teachers and mentors?
In the Art Department, the professors who had the greatest impact on me were Linda Fawcett and Kayla Belle Christianson. In the Leadership Program, it was Coleman Patterson. In the Music Department, it was Don Hanna, who sadly passed away in 2014.

What is a favorite story or memory of HSU from your time there?
It's hard to choose just one, especially when you're a member of the Cowboy Band. But, during my freshman year, it snowed 12 inches overnight. Naturally classes were cancelled, so six of us from the band went out to Shelton Stadium in our cowboy hats, boots, and band jackets and took a great picture in the middle of the snow-covered field. I later incorporated that photo into a senior art piece entitled “Band of Brothers.” The original photo is still on my desk today.

How do you stay involved and connected to HSU?
For the past two years, I've had the privilege of serving on the Board of Young Associates, and currently serve as the VP of the DFW Area. It's a real joy to visit the campus, meet with other alumni and staff, and work together to serve HSU from our various parts of Texas and beyond. Additionally, it is heartwarming to meet up with old friends, and make new ones at the many great events HSU promotes, like the Texas Rangers games, local dinners, and more.

Why did you choose to give back to HSU?
When I look at Hardin-Simmons, I see a place that will not only educate and instruct the next generation in their chosen fields, but will do so through the lens of the gospel. It's a place that is committed to making disciples of Jesus Christ that will permeate a vast array of professions. This is the Great Commission lived out and demonstrated through a university, and I believe that's a mission worth supporting.

What do you think other people should know about giving back to HSU?
I would encourage people that giving can look like a number of different things. Some examples include a monthly gift, volunteering your time, serving on a board, making HSU one of your beneficiaries, etc. Supporting our “university home” enables it to be home for future students and continue discipling the next generation.

Keith found a Band of Brothers, a family, when he attended Hardin-Simmons University. The lessons he learned there propel him forward and help him develop his skills to inspire creativity in a whole new group of people.

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