Alumnus’ Obituary Inspires Half-Page Article in The Wall Street Journal

It’s not often an obituary inspires a headline in a major publication such as The Wall Street Journal. But the Oct. 31 death and impressive career of Bernard “Dolph” A. Bridgewater, ’55 ΒΘΠ, of St. Louis, MO, caught the attention of writer James R. Hagerty, who composed a half-page article on Nov. 21 about the accomplished Westminster graduate.

According to the feature, the former chief executive officer of Brown Group Inc. — once the largest manufacturer of shoes in the United States — helped pay for his Westminster education by washing dishes while he majored in English at the College. Bridgewater also served as captain of the golf team.

The industrious worker went on to earn a law degree from the University of Oklahoma in Norman and an MBA from Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, in 1964. In between the two advanced degrees, Bridgewater served in the U.S. Navy.

Upon earning his MBA, Bridgewater worked at McKinsey & Company in Chicago, IL, where he served as principal and, later, director by 1972. He also served as Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs with the Office of Management and Budget under former President Richard Nixon.

By the mid-1970s, Bridgewater worked as an executive vice president for Baxter Travenol Laboratories Inc. He then was appointed to the board of Brown Group Inc., where he became president and chief operating officer of the company in 1979.

The Wall Street Journal highlighted Bridgewater’s impact on Brown, now renamed Caleres, citing his insightful management of a changing industry that was affected by free-market politics.

Bridgewater is survived by his wife, Barbara, of 59 years, three daughters and 10 grandchildren. Those with a subscription can read the full article here.

Photo source: The Wall Street Journal/Bridgewater Family.

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.