David J. Dutton

Written or last revised on June 25, 2010


dutton-david-jDavid Dutton, a Morrisville resident, is an example of how hard work and perseverance can lead to success.

Dutton, 22, graduated from the University of Mary Washington in May 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in historic preservation. He graduated from Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) in 2008 with an associate degree in liberal arts with a fine arts specialization. While at LFCC, Dutton maintained a consistent cumulative grade point average of 4.0.

“My two years at LFCC increased my desire, not only for scholastic achievement, but also for higher education and going above and beyond,” Dutton said.   

Dutton’s plans are to pursue a master’s degree, possibly in history. He decided to take a few months off to carefully consider his next major, but enrolled in a Western Civilization class at LFCC during the summer. His current passion is restoring pipe organs from the 18th and 19th centuries. He eventually wants to become a conservator for a museum or own his own preservation consulting business, with an eye toward diversifying his skills.

“One thing that pushes me to pursue this career goal is my desire to preserve our history in an age where the past seems irrelevant,” Dutton said. “By preserving the past, we can experience history firsthand and better understand the changes that have shaped humanity today.”

Dutton has overcome numerous challenges in his life. He was born profoundly deaf and had limited exposure to extracurricular opportunities for many years due to his family situation and other factors. Nine years ago, by chance, Dutton met Jim Baird at the Warrenton Caboose open house and a connection was made. Baird became Dutton’s mentor and biggest hero.

“He literally changed me into who I have become today, and I am forever in debt to his loving care and guidance,” Dutton said.

LFCC was an ideal choice for Dutton, because he had no financial support when he started college. “The scholarships that I received through the LFCC Educational Foundation [Inc.] made my higher education possible and made the difference between attending LFCC and not attending,” he said. “The scholarships empowered me to strengthen my self confidence, both as a successful scholar and as a positive contributor to my community.”

While at UMW, Dutton established a sign language club named Talk to the Hand. He then lobbied, successfully, for the university to recognize American Sign Language as fulfilling the undergraduate language requirement.

“I consider that to be my biggest achievement so far,” Dutton said. “But I couldn’t have done it without so much support from the professors, students and the leadership at the university.”

While attending LFCC, Dutton was a member of PTK and the Student Ambassadors Club. He served as an officer in LFCC’s Student Government Association. Dutton also received various awards and honors, including LFCC’s Outstanding Graduate in Fine Arts award, Phi Theta Kappa’s (PTK) Distinguished Member Award on the regional and international level and the Virginia Community College System Student Showcase Award.

Dutton continues to volunteer at Walkersville Southern, the full-size tourist railroad in Walkersville, Md. He recently earned certification as a locomotive engineer, enabling him to drive the train. He is also certified as a Federal Railroad Administration General Employee and Brakemen Training Instructor for Walkersville Southern. Dutton’s extensive volunteer work has included helping in the restoration of historic railroad passenger cars, a three-ton stationary steam engine and an old rivet machine at Walkersville Southern. He also volunteers in the railroad’s museum.

As Dutton looks toward the future, one thing matters most to him. “How I can make a difference in someone’s life.”

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