1983 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"Even without a strong foundation, you can make your way in this country to the top of your chosen field."
J. Paul Lyet was born in Philadelphia to immigrant parents. His father and mother divorced when he was eight years old. After that, Lyet rarely saw his father, a professional trumpet player. To support her son and widowed mother, Lyet's mother worked as a telephone operator. Lyet found an escape from his grim environment by participating in the Big Brothers Association. Working during the day in a factory and then later in real estate, he was able to pay through the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Evening School of Accounts and Finance. He graduated in 1941 with a degree in accounting. His first professional job was with Ernst & Ernst. He later worked as comptroller for New Holland, a farm machinery company. In 1946, New Holland was purchased by the Sperry Corporation, and later merged with Remington Rand to become the Sperry Rand Corporation. Lyet rose to chairman and CEO of Sperry in 1972. By 1980, the corporation's revenues tripled to more than $5 billion.* Deceased