Dorr B. Begnal '83, a co-founder and managing director of Winthrop Square Capital (WSC), was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree at Clarkson University's spring 2019 Commencement on Saturday, May 11.
The degree was awarded for "a decades-long career as a successful private markets investor with a lifelong commitment to ethical philanthropy through the support of charitable organizations and a special dedication to higher education and the welfare of animals."
Begnal spoke about the things in life that worked for him to help make him successful. “I’ve been humble enough to know that great ideas come from different places. I’ve always embraced humor. It’s a failsafe for making everyone feel better,” he said.
“I try to surround myself with people who when I say I’ve got an idea, they don’t respond with, ‘oh no, now what?’ Instead, their reaction is, ‘that’s great, let’s hear it!’” He went on to stress the importance of being kind. “In a world where we can be anything we want, I choose to be kind. I know when people are given an equal opportunity to thrive, really great things happen.”
“Clarkson produces great problem-solvers. They’re usually the first in the room that points out the best solution that usually is the simplest and the most overlooked,” he said.
Prior to co-founding WSC, Begnal co-founded of Park Street Capital LLC (PSC), where he remains one of the managing directors involved with monitoring the firm’s remaining private equity partnerships. During his tenure at PSC, Begnal helped raise and invest capital for 11 funds-of-funds partnerships totaling approximately $3 billion. Begnal led or co-led several investment relationships in a variety of strategies, including venture capital, growth equity, buyout, and special situations.
Prior to joining PSC, Begnal spent seven years with Cambridge Associates in the Alternative Assets Group. Among other positions, Begnal worked as a research consultant responsible for the analysis of buyouts, mezzanine debt, restructuring, non-marketable distressed securities, and special situations partnerships.
Begnal earned his bachelor of science degree from Clarkson, where he served as a trustee and received the Golden Knight Award. He is currently an advisor to the investment committee.
In addition, Begnal serves on the board of directors of the Hockhockson Farm Foundation, Farm Sanctuary, and Father Flanagan’s Fund for Needy Children, which provides support to Boys Town.