Graceland Award of Recognition

Don Hickman '76Don Hickman '76

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Don Hickman ’76 was the nicest, toughest Graceland football player and wrestler around. In the mid 70s, he was known for his true grit between the white lines and as a gentleman off the field. Hickman was recruited as a star athlete living in Ohio and says he was prompted in a dream to attend Graceland. In his freshman year at Graceland, he was baptized to the RLDS church.

With a degree in health, physical education and recreation, and his Graceland bride, Beverly Rasmussen ’76 Hickman, on his arm, Don pursued his passion: working with young people.

Landing in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Hickman spent his first nine years working with emotionally handicapped children at the elementary school level. From there, he went to Avon Park High School in Florida, where he coached track, cross country, tennis and football. He has served as the health and PE instructor there for the past 33 years, establishing a top-notch weight lifting program along the way.


Hickman has answered the call of mentoring young people from tough backgrounds who were in desperate need of a steady father figure. Graceland’s Director of Admissions, Kevin Brown ’96, experienced this firsthand and credits his success in life to Hickman.


“When my best friend and I decided to come to Graceland, it was an honor to give Don the credit for influencing us in the little things he did and accepting us as his own children,” shared Brown.


Over the years, Hickman has worked closely with the Graceland Admissions Office to funnel over 200 Central Florida high schoolers to Graceland. Their daughters, Jami ’02 and Lindsay ’04, attended Graceland. The Hickmans also have an adopted son, Tyler, from South Korea.


Recently inducted into the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Hall of Fame, Don Hickman is more than deserving of Graceland’s Award of Recognition.