Aubrey Dan, BACS’85, isn’t most people.
At age five, he began working for 10 cents an hour at his father’s pharmaceutical company and had to negotiate for a raise. He rose through the ranks to become the Director of Sales at 24, and went on to build a Family Investment business with a globally diversified portfolio. He also spent years producing Broadway shows. One of them, Memphis, won a Tony Award.
And in 2017, the 54-year-old Canadian businessman and philanthropist created a lasting legacy at Western, thanks to a $5-million gift – his second such investment in little more than a decade – designed to thrust the DAN Department of Management & Organizational Studies further onto the global stage.
The gift established three endowed research Chairs and two distinguished public lectures.
“It’s like the little pebble you drop into the pond to create a ripple,” Dan said. “That’s really what I am. Just that little pebble, trying to have a positive effect on others.”
Dan first started helping Western students understand his people-centric approach to business in 2006, when he made his first $5-million gift to establish the Aubrey Dan Program in Management and Organizational Studies in the Faculty of Social Science.
His latest gift directed $4.5 million to establish the three endowed research Chairs in Consumer Behaviour, Change and Innovation, and Corporate Governance – the latter of which will be appointed jointly by DAN Management and Western Law. With $1.5 million dedicated to each Chair, and matching funds from Western, the Chairs each have a $3-million endowment.
Dan believes they have the potential to elevate Western further onto the global stage.
“This type of work will help propel Western to a higher ranking, where others are eager for our intellectual capital. That, right there, is its own award of excellence we can export around the globe, democratizing education.”