Dockendorf first started making an impression early during his first years in college. Spending the end of the 1970s burning through various classes in university, he graduated in 1981 with top grades from the University of Vermont. Seeking roles and pathways in recreation and park management, Dockendorf chased paths like many and found himself assistant positions for various professors. This led to his pursuit of graduate studies in the same field. By the next decade, Dockendorf had achieved a Master of Management, Hospitality from Cornell University and the School of Hotel Administration in 1992. Again, Dockendorf achieved the top of his class and was also the John E.H. Sherry Scholarship and student body president at Cornell in his discipline's school - making him one of the most notable alumni members on record!