Dr. Archie R. Dykes

Dr. Archie Dykes
2002 Distinguished Alumni in Higher Education


Where do you go from here? There are many directions that any college graduate can decide upon once a degree is completed. A direction or career after any college degree is earned usually follows a pattern similar to others. For an educator -- teaching, possibly becoming a principal or even a superintendent, would serve as the template. In higher education, one can teach, possibly move into administration or perhaps serve as a dean or president. For a business executive, a usual pattern exists as well. Dr. Archie R. Dykes has had not just one career, but three careers -- each very distinct and exceptional.

A 1952 bachelor's degree and 1956 master's degree at East Tennessee State University were the start of his educational career. Today, Chairman Archie R. Dykes leads the board of PepsiAmericas, Inc., based in Chicago.

PepsiAmericas is the nation's second largest bottler of Pepsi products in the United States, operating in 18 states. The company also has operations in the Caribbean and in Eastern Europe with annual sales worldwide in excess of $3 billion. This is an endeavor that has Dykes on the road in the U.S. and abroad two to three days a week, usually with company President Robert Pohlad. The two men got together as Dykes, seeking a CEO for Whitman Corporation, found Pohlad was running his own Pepsi bottling interests. The combination resulted in the number two and three bottlers coming together. This is the peak of Dykes' third career, so far.

The well-known educator was a principal at Church Hill (Tenn.)High School and superintendent of schools in Greeneville. In the 1960s, Dykes embarked upon a second career in the college ranks; his 1959 University of Tennessee doctorate landed him on the faculty of UT. In 1967, he became chancellor of the Knoxville campus. In 1970, he was named ETSU's Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, the first person ever to earn this distinction. The students of the University of Tennessee also bestowed their highest honor on Dykes, the "Volunteer Symbol." In 1973, he was selected to be chancellor of the University of Kansas where he served until 1980. However, he has chosen to continue his relationship with the higher education system. He was named a regent for the State Universities of Kansas in 1982 and was the only former administrator to receive this honor from the governor. He held that position until 1986. Dykes was recognized for his service with the highest award given by the University of Kansas, the Distinguished Service Citation. The alumni of the University of Kansas also recognized his achievements by awarding him their highest honor, the Fred Ellsworth Medallion. He continues his involvement in both universities by serving the Kansas University Endowment Association as a trustee and serving on the Board of Visitors of the University of Tennessee College of Education.

While he continued his involvement in the higher educational system, Dykes began his third career as a business executive. He served as chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Security Benefit Group of Companies in Topeka, Kans. This seven-year stint, coupled with work as a director for a variety of corporations -- Pet, Fleming, Whitman, Midas, Esmark and more -- indicate an acumen for success, regardless of his field.

"Many of us owe largely what we are to East Tennessee State. It is leadership's responsibility to focus and develop talent. Regardless, business or education, leading uses the same skills. They are transferable," Dykes said.

Dykes is married to the former Nancy Haun of Church Hill. The couple resides in Nashville, Tenn. They have two children, John R. Dykes and Thomas M. Dykes, M.D. In his spare time, Dykes serves on numerous corporate, education, and cultural boards.