Born and raised in Winchester, Kentucky, UK Dining employee JR Dickerson graduated from UK in 2008 with degrees in architecture and anthropology. He has yet to work within these fields, but he says that once he is financially stable, he will pursue a master’s or doctorate degree. 

“The money is the big thing with getting a master’s or a doctorate at any university,” Dickerson said. “With no money, that’s out of the picture right now. For now, I’m going to stay where I’m at, and that’s with UK Dining.”

When it is feasible to earn a new degree, Dickerson said that his dream job would be a career as a professor. He said he would enjoy teaching classes, getting tenure and having the opportunity to travel overseas.

Outside of working at UK’s ONE Community Café, Dickerson has many passions including traveling, fishing, hunting and playing the guitar. He has played guitar in a gospel band for the past 25 years, performing shows in Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio and West Virginia. He said the experience of playing live is “different than anything else.”

“You’re going to be bashful and everything when you first get going, you know if you’ve ever talked in front of anybody and you get nervous … but that’ll eventually go away, and you’re up there playing music,” Dickerson said. “If things get going right, and if you are right with the good Lord, then you will feel him.”

In addition to playing in his band, Dickerson enjoys exploring and has been to both Egypt and Amsterdam. He has plans to travel to many more countries including Israel, where he hopes to find the Ark of the Covenant, the biblical relic said to contain the Ten Commandments. 

“Ever since [I was] about five or six years old, when … ‘Raiders of The Lost Ark’ came out, that’s when I knew exactly what I wanted to do … I wanted to find the Ark of the Covenant,” Dickerson said. “I’ve done research for almost 30 years on it.”

Dickerson said he has information on where the Ark is located, plus a team of people behind him to help find it.

“I have contacts here all the way back to Israel with archaeologists, probably about 15 or 20 of them,” Dickerson said. “We talk back and forth.”

Dickerson also believes the discovery could bring dire consequences.

“The best place for it would be in a museum. With some things, it’s better off not to find, because of what it will bring,” Dickerson said. “If it’s found at the right time, right place, it could bring about the end of the world.”

For now, he continues to research and study in his free time but is content with his position as a dining worker.

“I like most of the students. Of course, I see a whole bunch of them. They’re pretty good to us,” Dickerson said.