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William S. Dietrich II


 
William S. Dietrich II, a member of Princeton University's Class of 1960, was the chairman of Dietrich Industries, a Pittsburgh-based steel products company that his father founded. He graduated from Princeton with an A.B. in history in 1960 and served six months in the U.S. Marine Corps before joining the family company. He oversaw the growth of Dietrich Industries from a small scrap steel business to the nation's largest manufacturer of light metal framing for the construction industry. He also continued his education, earning M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science from the University of Pittsburgh.
 
The company was sold to Worthington Industries in 1996, after which Dietrich continued to serve as a director until 2008. He used the proceeds of the sale to establish the Dietrich Charitable Trusts, which he managed. He also served on the boards of numerous Pittsburgh institutions, including Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as on the advisory council of Princeton's Department of History. He wrote two books, "In the Shadow of the Rising Sun: The Political Roots of American Economic Decline," in 1991, and "Eminent Pittsburghers: Profiles of the City's Founding Industrialists," in 2010, and was working on a third, about the economic rise of China, when he died.
 
After his death, the Dietrich Foundation was formed to carry out his bequests, which included two of the largest charitable contributions in the history of higher education to Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Dietrich also made transformative gifts to other institutions in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, as well as to Princeton.