Aubrey Dan, BACS'85, has always challenged himself by asking the question, why not?
“All you need is a small idea to change the world in a positive way. If you have passion and drive, you can have a massive impact as a change agent. I asked the question, ‘Why doesn’t Toronto have more Broadway-style theatre,’” he says. “Eventually I secured the rights to produce Jersey Boys that ran for two years at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, where 1.2 million people saw the show and most recently, it became a movie, staring one of the Canadian actors.”
Dan is a Canadian businessman, Tony-Award® winning producer (MEMPHIS), impresario and philanthropist. He is Founder and President of Dancap Private Equity Inc., Dancap Global Asset Management, Dancap Catering Inc., and Dancap Productions Inc.
Born in Toronto, Dan graduated from Western with a degree in Administrative and Commercial studies in 1985. Soon after, he joined his father's company, Novopharm Limited, a generic drug manufacturer as a sales representative, and then Director of Sales. In 1995, Dan was appointed President to run the Novopharm subsidiary, Wampole Canada Inc., an herbal supplement and vitamin manufacturer. In 2002, Dan founded Dancap Private Equity, a private firm that invests its own funds from a $50 million investment base in mid-market Canadian businesses, and as co-investment partner for medium to large sized international businesses. Dan also founded Dancap Global Asset Management, a company with a singular mandate to build wealth over the long term by providing best practices in asset allocation, portfolio construction, investment due diligence, and investment management. The company's investment focus includes alternative assets, such as private equity, private debt, infrastructure, commodities and hedge funds, as well as traditional assets including public equities, fixed income and real estate.
In 2007, Dan launched Dancap Productions with an inaugural season that included The Drowsy Chaperone, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, 3 Mo Divas, successful revivals of beloved shows like My Fair Lady as well as summer presentations of Avenue Q and the Tony Award®-winning Jersey Boys. After a two year run with Jersey Boys, Dancap Productions returned to presenting a subscriptions series of award-winning Broadway theatre.
Dan is a very generous philanthropist. Together with his wife Marla, the Dans have donated millions to organizations primarily focused on children, health and education. His $5 million contribution to Western's Faculty of Social Science created the Aubrey Dan Program in Management and Organizational Studies. “Being a part of creating the Dan Management Program is one of the most rewarding aspects of my connection to Western,” says Dan. “I am thrilled that the program has evolved into a department with graduate studies starting in the fall of 2014. That will be a game changer for the entire university as it promotes an interdisciplinary masters degree among DAN Management and the other faculties. I am also thrilled that there are plans to teach one of the courses in Hong Kong next summer, expanding its international footprint.”
Dan received an honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree (honoris causa) from Assumption University in 2008. He is a member of the Young President's Association (YPO) Ontario Chapter, Baycrest (www.baycrest.org) , and Institute of Private Investors (IPI).
Dan was recognied with the 2014 Alumni Award of Merit Professional Achivement Aware, which was a wonderful surprise for Dan. “An award is something you don’t expect,” he says. “It’s validation that what you’ve done has made a positive difference. I hope to be an inspiration for others. The sooner one gets involved with Western as an alumni, the bigger the change you can make.”
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