Within five years after graduating from the University of Mary Washington, Doug Dolton ’78 went from working as a bank teller to being the chief executive officer of a small bank.
Now the chairman and CEO of San Francisco Motorsports, a luxury automotive retailer based out of Northern California, Dolton attributes his success to hard work and a strong sense of personal responsibility.
“My philosophy has always been ‘if you do what is right for customers, it will ultimately come back to benefit you,’” he said. “A lot of that was born at Mary Washington. It was a very grassroots kind of place where the philosophy was ‘learn, contribute and be honest.’”
Dolton will share his business philosophy during a visit to campus in the spring as part of UMW’s Executive-in-Residence program. He hopes his message of “work really hard and be really honest” will resonate with students.
In his more than 30 years in the banking and financial services industries, Dolton said his experience at Mary Washington has served him well.
“One thing that really stood out for me was the honor code,” he said. “It has lived with me my whole life. It is just amazing to me how much trust and power was put in my hands.”
For Dolton, an alumnus of the first co-ed residential class at Mary Washington and one of the inaugural members of the men’s soccer team, his fellow students and professors brought the honor code to life every day.
“I really enjoyed my relationships with my professors,” he said. “Class sizes were small, just like they are today, and they were really engaging.”
Through all of his business ventures, including starting new businesses and serving as CEO of several large corporations, Dolton has striven to stay true to his own personal honor code.
“In my career, if someone asks me to do something, I ask myself three things: is it unethical, immoral or illegal? If the answer is no, then I do it,” Dolton said. “I think that came from Mary Washington.”