The brilliantly creative but unassuming man for whom the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences is named was born in New York City in 1909. Twenty-one years later, Dr. Dyson, who had spent his youth in New Jersey, graduated from Pace Institute in the city of his birth. Immediately thereafter he pursued a career in public accounting, becoming a manager at Price Waterhouse & Company. Dr. Dyson left Price Waterhouse during World War II to serve as a consultant to the Secretary of War. He attained the rank of Colonel in the U.S. Army during the war and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. In 1944 he was a representative of the U.S. Treasury Department at the International Monetary Conference at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.
Soon after the war ended, Dr. Dyson joined Textron, Incorporated as Executive Vice President and Director. From 1949 until 1951 he was Vice President and member of the Executive Committee and Director of Burlington Mills Corporation. After leaving Burlington, he established a consulting firm and in 1954 founded the Dyson Corporation, known later as the Dyson-Kissner Corporation, a privately held investment firm. The company began when Dr. Dyson invested in a small electric utility hardware business. Through the years, some 100 other companies were acquired.
Dr. Dyson's expertise in mergers and acquisitions served his alma mater well. Elected president of the Alumni Association in 1953, eleven years later he became a member of the Board of Trustees. As a Board member, Dr. Dyson played an important role in the establishment of the School of Nursing and in the creation of the Civic Center campus in Lower Manhattan. In 1963 Dyson Hall on the Pleasantville campus was dedicated to Dr. Dyson in recognition of his generous support and numerous services to the college. Two years later Pace awarded him an honorary Doctorate in Commercial Science.
In 1967 Dr. Dyson became Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees and in 1970 Chairman of the Board. During his tenure as Chairman, Pace achieved university status, the School of Law was established and the merger of The College of White Plains and Pace University occurred. In 1974, two years before he relinquished the chairmanship of the Board of Trustees, the University's College of Arts and Sciences was dedicated to Dr. Dyson.
The announcement that the college would be known henceforth as Dyson College took Dr. Dyson by surprise, leaving him almost speechless, but only for a moment. This unassuming man was, after all, a most effective speaker, and one who was unafraid of speaking out on controversial issues including the war in Vietnam. When he learned that he was the only non-political figure whose name appeared on all three of President Richard Nixon's enemy lists, Dr. Dyson interpreted the development as "an endorsement for good standards." This is precisely what he told a New York Sunday News reporter who wrote a feature story about his role as a Pace trustee for the October 12,197S issue of the Sunday News Magazine.
As for Charles Dyson's extraordinary contributions to Pace, News reporter Susan Ferraro characterized the Dyson-Mortola partnership as "a booming success." She went on to say: "At Pace, Mortola is the front man and Dyson the behind-the-scenes power, there 'in the pinch.' That pinch is more like a bite when it comes to fund-raising." Discussing another aspect of the partnership, the News reporter said:
Dyson's genius for acquisition and control has been what Pace needed most. The school first started to expand in 1967, by turning a local hospital's 'diploma' nursing school into a degree program. Dyson pulled the deal together...'We came in and sat around the table,' Mortola recalls. 'Everyone was hesitant - none of us had ever done this kind of thing before. But within five minutes Charlie turned it around. They were all agreeing, yes, that's how it should be.'
Once again the quiet genius had worked his magic, something which he continued to do for the alma mater which is extremely proud of the man who was once characterized by an administrator of Pace Institute as "the best student we've ever had." Without Charles Dyson, it is difficult to imagine Pace Institute, Pace College and, above all, Pace University.