Peter Miller Dawkins was born on March 8, 1938 to Frances and Henry Dawkins, in Royal Oak, Michigan. Henry was a dentist who served in the Pacific during World War II. Frances was a college-educated homemaker with personal and career involvement in child development.
At 11, Pete was successfully treated for polio through a then unconventional treatment of aggressive physical therapy, and began a life-long commitment to weight training and sports.
On the brink of adolescence, Pete earned a scholarship to Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where he excelled both as an All-League quarterback in football, and Captain of the baseball team.
Although accepted at Yale University, Pete chose to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. To this day, he remains the only cadet to ever serve as Brigade Commander, President of his Class, Captain of the football team and a “Star Man” – one of the top 5%, academically.
Along with the legendary 1944, 1945 and 1946 teams of “Doc” Blanchard and Glenn Davis, Pete’s 1958 Army football team was one of the most storied teams in West Point history. Undefeated, and ranked third in the nation, West Point’s “lonely end” formation – unveiled that year – is credited by many as having ushered in the open-formation, wide-receiver structure of modern football.
That same year, Pete was recognized as the outstanding college football player in the nation, being selected a consensus All American, and winning both the Heisman and the Maxwell Trophies.
In 1959, after graduating from West Point, Pete began a three year course of study at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. His studies - in the field of Philosophy, Politics and Economics - not only provided a strong complement to Pete’s engineering background at the Military Academy, but had a formative, and permanent, influence on his perspective and life view.
Upon completion of his studies as a Rhodes Scholar, Pete spent the following twenty-four years as a career officer in the United States Army.
After finishing Infantry, Parachute and Ranger training, Pete was posted to the 82nd Airborne Division where he commanded a Rifle Company. Following further training, including Vietnamese language school, he went to Vietnam, first as Senior Advisor to the Vietnamese 1st Airborne Battalion, and subsequently working in the Pacification Program.
Later, Pete taught at the Military Academy, studied for a PhD at Princeton University, worked on the task force charged to adapt the Army to a volunteer status, following the Congressional decision to do away with the military draft, and served as a White House Fellow.
In the final decade of his military career, Pete commanded three different units, and would become a General Officer. His commands included a Battalion in Korea, a Brigade at Fort Ord, followed by assignment as Assistant Division Commander of the 7th Infantry Division. Then, another Brigade command in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), followed by assignment there as the Division Chief of Staff.
His final posting was in the Pentagon as the Army’s Deputy Director of Strategy, Plans and Policy.
Since leaving uniform, Pete continued his legacy of involvement and leadership by entering the world of finance where he joined Lehman Brothers in New York as a Partner, and head of the Public Finance Banking division.
After four years with Lehman Brothers, and its successor firm, Pete again felt the tug of public service, running as the Republican candidate from New Jersey for the United States Senate. Although he ultimately fell short in a nationally-prominent campaign, it was for a purpose he cares deeply about – service to the nation.
In 1989, he joined the strategy consulting firm of Bain & Company, as head of the U.S. consulting practice, before being recruited in 1991 by the legendary financial leader, Sanford I. Weill, to serve as Chairman and CEO of Primerica Financial Services, Inc.
Pete would go on to hold several senior positions in the expanding world of Citigroup, serving as Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President of Travelers Insurance, Vice Chairman of Citibank’s Private Bank, and Vice Chairman of Citi’s Global Wealth management business.
Currently, Pete is Senior Advisor at Virtu Financial, a leading electronic trading and market making firm. He and his wife of 55 years, Judi, have one adult daughter, Noel, and six grandchildren. Their son, Sean, passed away in 2007.