Pete Dawkins

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For other people with the same name, see Peter Dawkins (disambiguation).
Pete Dawkins
Man in West Point Cadet uniform
Dawkins as a senior West Point Cadet, 1959
Army Black Knights No. 24
Position Halfback
Career history
  • Army (1956–1958)
High school Cranbrook School
Personal information
Date of birth (1938-03-08) March 8, 1938 (age 78)
Place of birth Royal Oak, Michigan
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight 210 lb (95 kg)
Career highlights and awards
College Football Hall of Fame (1975)

Peter Miller Dawkins (born March 8, 1938) is an American business executive and former college football player, military officer, and political candidate. Dawkins attended the United States Military Academy, where he played as halfback on the Army Cadets football team from 1956 to 1958. As a senior in 1958 he won the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, and was a consensus All-America selection. After graduating from the Military Academy in 1959, he studied at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Dawkins served as an officer in the United States Army until he retired in 1983 with the rank of brigadier general. He was a Republican candidate for United States Senate in 1988. Dawkins has held executive positions with Lehman Brothers, Bain & Company, Primerica, and Citigroup.

Early life, education and athletic career[edit]

At age 11, he was successfully treated for polio[1] with aggressive physical therapy. After earning a scholarship, Dawkins entered Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. There he was an all-league quarterback, and captain of the baseball team. He graduated from Cranbrook in 1955.

Accepted by Yale University, Dawkins chose instead to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. He won high honors, serving as Brigade Commander, president of his class, captain of the football team, and a "Star Man" in the top five percent of his class academically. A cadet is considered outstanding if he attains one of these positions. Dawkins was the only cadet in history to hold all four at once. He was featured in Life Magazine and Reader's Digest. Even before his graduation, many predicted the he would make general and perhaps even be Army Chief of Staff. Playing as a halfback for head football coach Earl Blaik, Dawkins won the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell Award and was a consensus All-America selection in 1958 . Dawkins was also an assistant captain for the hockey team. At Oxford, he won three Blues in rugby and is credited with popularizing the overarm throw (originally called the "Yankee torpedo pass") into the lineout.[2]

Dawkins graduated from the Military Academy in 1959[3] with a very high class-standing, and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. He earned a degree at the University of Oxford in 1962[3] in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and later earned a M.P.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton.

Military career[edit]

Capt. Pete Dawkins in Vietnam, March 1966

After being commissioned from the academy and completing his tenure as a Rhodes Scholar, Dawkins finished Infantry School and Ranger School before being posted for duty in the 82nd Airborne Division. He received two Bronze Stars for Valor for his service in Vietnam and held commands in the 7th Infantry Division and 101st Airborne. From 1971 to 1972, Dawkins, while a lieutenant colonel, was the commander of the 1st Battalion 23rd Infantry, 2nd Infantry Division, Camp Hovey, Korea. In addition to being an instructor at the academy, he was a White House Fellow in the 1973–74 class. During that time, he was chosen to work on a task force, charged with changing the U.S. Army into an all-volunteer force. During the mid 1970s Colonel Dawkins was brigade commander of the 3rd ( "Golden Brigade") of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina that included the 1st and 2nd 505th and 1/508th battalions. In the late 1970s he was 3rd Brigade Commander (War Eagle Brigade, which included the 1/503, 2/503, and 3/187 Infantry Battalions) of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell with the rank of colonel. After serving as the Brigade Commander he became the Chief of Staff for the 101st Airborne Division and was subsequently promoted to brigadier general. In 1966 Dawkins appeared in uniform on the cover of Life Magazine and participated in a segment of the U.S. Army "Big Pictue" film series, "A Nation Builds Under Fire." A short documentary reviewing United States progress in South Vietnam narrated by actor John Wayne.

Business career[edit]

At the conclusion of his 24-year career in the Army, Dawkins retired with the rank of brigadier general in 1983. Following his retirement from the Army, Dawkins took up a position as a partner in the Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers,[4] later becoming vice-chairman of Bain & Company. In 1991, he moved on to become chairman and CEO of Primerica. Dawkins was a senior partner at Flintlock Capital Asset Management and is currently a senior advisor for Virtu Financial.

Political career[edit]

In 1988, he established residence in Rumson, New Jersey as part of an unsuccessful challenge against United States Senator Frank Lautenberg for his seat in the United States Senate from New Jersey.[5] The race was notable for the negative tone that emerged from both sides and Lautenberg's criticism of Dawkins's lack of roots in the state. Dawkins lost by an eight-percent margin.

Electoral history[edit]

  • 1988 Race for U.S. Senate


  1. ^ "NFF Announces 2007 Major Awards Recipients". National Football Foundation. 2007-05-17. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  2. ^ Robinson, Joshua (December 9, 2009). "From Harvard's Gridiron to Oxford's Rugby Pitch". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-12-09. 
  3. ^ a b Serving until 1983 shortly after being promoted to Brig.General.Pete Dawkins
  4. ^ - Pete Dawkins
  5. ^ Staff. "Panel Formed to Back Senate Bid by Dawkins", The New York Times, April 1, 1987. Accessed September 27, 2015. "Mr. Dawkins is 48 years old and has purchased a home in Rumson."

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Millicent Fenwick
Republican Nominee for the U.S. Senate (Class 1) from New Jersey
Succeeded by
Chuck Haytaian