Dolibois, John, 1918-

Alternative names
Birth 1918-12-04

Biographical notes:

John E. Dolibois was born on December 4, 1918 in Luxembourg. In 1931, along with his father, he immigrated to the United States, taking up residence in Toledo, Ohio. As a kid he became involved in the Boy Scouts. He later graduated from Akron North High School as Valedictorian and President. His high school success earned him a scholarship to attend Miami University. While at Miami he organized Oxford’s first Boy Scout troop. Academically, he majored in psychology, graduating with honors in 1942. He also was the president of the alpha chapter of Beta Theta Pi. He became a U.S. citizen in 1941 and married Winifred “Winnie” Englehart his senior year. After college he took a job as an industrial engineer at Proctor & Gamble. He was drafted to the military later in 1942. He was commissioned a lieutenant and transferred to a military intelligence center in Camp Ritchie, Maryland. In March 1945 Dolibois became a member of the five-member Army Intelligence team that interrogated the highest-ranking Nazi war criminals after the fall of the Third Reich, leading up to the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. This included Hermann Goering, credited as the architect of the Nazi industrial machine and second in command under Adolf Hitler. After six months of interaction, he knew some of Hitler’s most trusted and senior-deputies well. When the defendants went to Nuremberg, Dolibois followed, interpreting their responses to Rorschach inkblot tests given by an Army psychiatrist. Dolibois left the military as a captain and returned to his job at Proctor & Gamble in 1947. At the same time he became Miami University’s first full-time alumni secretary. He later became the first director of alumni affairs and development and, in 1966, first vice president for development and alumni affairs. In July 1981 he was named vice president for university relations, overseeing the news and publication offices as well as public relations, development and alumni programs. Among many accomplishments at Miami, he helped establish a study abroad program in Luxembourg in 1968. The Luxembourg center was renamed the Miami University John E. Dolibois European Center in 1987. He also organized the university’s first fundraising campaign, for $14 million, from 1978-1981, which helped raise funds to build the university’s art museum, Marcum conference center and Yager football stadium and to increase the number of scholarships. After 34 years at his alma mater, he retired so that he could represent the United States as ambassador to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg 1981-1985. In June 1981 he told the Associated Press that his nomination was the capstone of his career. During his ambassadorial tenure, the 999-square-mile country of 365,000 was visited by Vice President George Bush, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, Secretary of State George Schulz and Gen. Alexander Haig. In October 2003, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution naming the American embassy residence in Luxembourg the Dolibois House. He and wise wife, Winnie, returned to Oxford in 1985 to retire. Other recognitions and honors: He was honored with the Silver Beaver Award, Scouting’s highest award for service to boyhood, in 1957 and was named a Distinguished Eagle Scout in 1972; In recognition of his military service and his work in international education, including the establishment of Miami’s European center, the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg March 31, 1971, decorated him as Officer in the Grand Ducal Order of the Crown of Oak; In 1976 he received Luxembourg’s decoration of Commander in the Order of Merit, recognizing his work on behalf of international good will and his services to international education as a member of the 12-person Board of Foreign Scholarships, which administers the Fulbright Exchange program; In 1977 he was awarded Miami’s Benjamin Harrison Medallion. Named for the 1852 Miami graduate who became U.S. president, the medallion is presented to faculty and staff who have made outstanding national contributions to education; In 1987 the grand duke of Luxembourg awarded him the Cross of the Grand Ducal Order of the Crown of Oak, Luxembourg’s highest decoration; He was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Nov. 6, 1997; In 2002 he was awarded the first Michael J. Colligan History Prize at Miami University Hamilton for making the appreciation and study of history accessible and enriching for the community and also that year, Miami University Hamilton inaugurated the John E. Dolibois History Prize. *Information taken from Miami University press release

From the guide to the John E. Dolibois Papers, 1967-1988, (Miami University)


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  • International relations
  • Diplomats--Luxembourg


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  • Luxembourg (as recorded)