Photo: screen grab from 1440wallsteet.com
Outspoken hedge fund manager Dan Loeb, the founder of Third Point LLC, has a reputation for his strongly worded letters to companies.But perhaps we know where he gets his sharp tongue from.
Last night, the hedge fund titan received Columbia University’s John Jay Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement. Every year the school holds this black tie event and hands out the award to a handful of stand-out alumni.
DealBreaker’s Bess Levin obtained a full copy of his acceptance speech where he reminisces on his many conversations with friends about great books (sometimes they talked about dreams and girls) and how it helped “form the fabric” of who they are today.
Here’s an excerpt from Loeb via DealBreaker. (emphasis added)
….For me, Columbia was transformative. I don’t remember much about the specifics of the Economics courses that I majored in – I apparently internalized the key concepts – but I still remember vividly the thrill of reading Don Quixote, Epictetus, The Aeneid, King Lear and Candide, and how contemporary the stories and ideas in these old and ancient texts struck me. To this day, I still chuckle when I consider the bawdy tales of Rabelais, who seems now to have anticipated and channeled my own 6 year-old son’s talent for potty talk. I fantasize that our politicians have been moved by the dialogues of Plato, and thus contemplate the ancient conflict of the sophists versus the lovers of truth. (I guess they determined that the former was the more expeditious course)
But Columbia was not just professors and books, it was the friendships and the conversations, often at Tom’s or the College Inn, sometimes about girls or dreams or aspirations but often about those very great books or art, which we all internalized and helped form the fabric of who we are today. Two of those dear friends, Maurice Rasgon, who convinced me to transfer to Columbia and my friend Robert Brown, who let me sleep on his dorm room floor when I was briefly homeless, have travelled here all the way from California. So has my mother Clare, a historian who recently read Chernow’s Hamilton Biography with me in anticipation of this occasion.
Perhaps I was always intensely curious, but my Columbia education gave me a framework and a perspective to investigate new things – things that could be put into a historical and philosophical lineage. As I have grown older, the statues on Columbia’s campus of Rodin’s Thinker, Founding Fathers like Hamilton and Jefferson, and the values they represent have come to life and resonate within me.
Lastly, whatever measure of success I have attained in my professional career would not have been possible without the love and support of my wife Margaret and pales in comparison to the happiness she and my children give me every day. Thank you very much for this award.