Nearly 900 turn out for gala dinner at Chicago’s Millennium Park on October 5.
At a black tie dinner at Chicago’s Millennium Park, the spotlight was on a seasoned consumer goods marketer, a serial entrepreneur, an economist fighting global poverty, and an international television programmer. They were the four winners of the Distinguished Alumni Awards, honored by nearly 900 who attended Alumni Celebration on October 5.
Patrick Doyle, ’88, president and CEO of Domino’s Pizza Inc., and recipient of the Distinguished Corporate Alumni Award, was recognized for his turnaround of the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based pizza chain. He accepted the award with the same humor and folksy manner he has become known for in Domino’s commercials.
Through a career that began at First National Bank of Chicago, advanced to Gerber Products Co., and continues at Domino’s, Doyle credits his Booth education with providing valuable support. “All of the things I learned at Booth have given an extraordinary boost to my career, and I’m incredibly thankful to the extraordinary faculty that guided me,” Doyle said. “Having the Booth name associated with me has served me incredibly well.”
The Distinguished Entrepreneurial Alumni Award was presented to Michael Pape,’06 (XP-75), cofounder of Orchard Venture Partners and CEO of Nymirum Inc., for his work developing breakthrough drugs. In accepting his award, Pape reflected on how his life has been shaped by a series of “trigger” questions and experiences: curiosity that led him in the pursuit of answers, and people or events that had a positive influence. Those “triggers” ranged from his father and wife, to his business partner, and finally, Chicago Booth.
“Booth was a ‘trigger community’,” Pape explained. “It was there that I met my business partner, J.P. Fairbank. There was the influence of other classmates and professors.” Pape added a few words of inspiration: “Like digging for gold, mine your life for those trigger questions and those trigger experiences that you can convert into successful business ventures.”
Dean Karlan, MBA ’97, MPP ’97, president and founder of the nonprofit Innovations for Poverty Action, and professor of economics at Yale University, received the Distinguished Public Service/Public Sector Alumni Award.
Karlan told his fellow Booth alumni that his studies in Chicago provided him with the foundation for his nonprofit venture, which applies economic theory to find more effective ways to alleviate global poverty.
“Chicago Booth was a big turning point in my life,” Karlan said. “It introduced me to the academic research, which is behind a lot of the research I do, and behind the nonprofit I started. Booth also was a big part of teaching me what it takes to build an organization.”
Being successful within an existing organization was the key lesson learned at Booth by Michael Armstrong, ’02, senior vice president and general manager of BET International and Paramount Channel, and recipient of the Distinguished Young Alumni Award.
“At Booth, the best class I took was Network Structures of Effective Management. What it really taught me was how to build social capital in an organization, and I think it’s helped me in my career immeasurably,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong said his only regret while at Booth was dropping a class because of his busy work schedule. He promised the professor at the time that he would retake the class, and he told the audience that he pledges to fulfill his promise.
“Ironically, the class was international marketing. And I sit here today with a career in international branding and marketing,” Armstong laughed. “I promise you I’m going to come back at some point in my career and audit that class…or be a guest speaker.”
Read full profiles of the Distinguished Alumni Award Winners in the Fall 2012 issue of Chicago Booth Magazine.