Purdue community remembers Dick Dauch

Krannert alumnus and longtime Purdue benefactor Dick Dauch passed away at his home on Aug. 2. He was 71.

Dauch came to the University on a football scholarship and played fullback and linebacker for the Boilermakers from 1961 to 1963 while earning his bachelor’s degree in industrial management. He and his wife, Sandy, have been generous contributors to Purdue for more than 30 years. The Dick and Sandy Dauch Alumni Center on campus is named in their honor.

Following stints at Chrysler Corp., Volkswagen of America and General Motors, Dauch co-founded American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM) in 1994 and served as CEO until 2012. He served chairman of the board from 1997 until his passing.

He was the recipient of numerous professional honors, including Automation Alley’s CEO Legend Award (2005), Detroit News Michiganian of the Year (1999), Crain’s Detroit Business Newsmaker of the Year (1997), Michigan Manufacturers Association Manufacturer of the Year (1997) and the Automotive Hall of Fame’s Industry Leader of the Year (1996).

Dauch was known for his distinctive, direct, get-it-done style of management that helped AAM become one of the top automotive suppliers in the world.He co-authored a book about his experiences, American Drive: How Manufacturing Will Save Our Country, that was published in September 2012.

“I hope to live long enough to see one or more U.S. auto companies listed again among the Dow Jones 30,” Dauch wrote in his book. “But even if I don’t, I do believe U.S. manufacturing will continue to grow and prosper and lead our country back to a solid economic footing. It is already happening. We have only begun to show what we can do. Manufacturers in the U.S.A. have accepted the challenge of world competition and are poised for great things in the years ahead.”