University of Pittsburgh

alumni hall

Successful Run

Written by Elaine Vitone

Cheers thunder through the spring air. Baton in hand, the runner catches sight of the finish line and forges ahead, speeding toward the tape in the mile relay at the Intercollegiate American Championship.

“It was a very close race,” recalls Dick Doyle (ENGR ’58), who anchored Pitt’s 1957 relay team. “We finished second, by a step. But we set a University record that stood for 17 years.”

After earning a Pitt engineering degree, Doyle began a career in the automotive industry, working several research and management jobs. Eventually, he settled in Troy, Mich. Along the way, he developed a talent for marketing, and by 1980 he was vice president of sales at ITT Automotive.

In the late ’80s, Doyle spearheaded an effort to buy two struggling manufacturing companies and combined them to form Thompson International. Under his leadership, the new company became the largest supplier of wheel trim in the industry and saved 600 jobs.

Doyle also put his leadership skills to work for his community, serving as mayor of Troy, Mich., from 1974 to 1992. He led the city through a period of tremendous growth, from a population of 35,000 to 90,000.

As a Pitt athletic scholarship recipient, Doyle says he was “blessed.” Though first-place victory at the collegiate championship wasn’t in the cards for him in 1957, he’s grateful for the winning qualities that Pitt track gave him—an education, a sense of teamwork, and game-day preparedness for his future, right from the starting line.