Alumnus, Thomas Dorsey (B.S.’75/B) was honored among sixteen of the most accomplished VCU alumni at the recent Stars ceremony.
“In art, commerce, education, service and health care, VCU alumni are solving, discovering and enhancing the quality of our lives,” said Gordon McDougall, associate vice president for university alumni relations. “They have become known for their commitment to excellence—excellence in their work and in how they live their lives. Our stellar graduates are proud of their university, and we are proud of them.”
A serious weightlifter, avid pool player and inveterate globe-trotter, Thomas J. Dorsey is a man of many talents. As president and co-founder of Dorsey, Wright & Associates, Dorsey prefers a rigorous, no-nonsense style to sizing up investments, with a top-down, objective approach that relies on the Point and Figure price-charting method popularized by Charles Dow in the late 1800s.
An investing pro with 41 years of experience, Dorsey has written nine books based on the Point and Figure technique, which have been translated in a number of languages. He’s been a regular guest on Fox’s “Cavuto: Coast-to-Coast” and “Bulls & Bears” programs and frequently speaks to audiences worldwide on topics related to the stock market, technical analysis and momentum investing.
Looking back, though, Dorsey says, his success was a longshot.
“You see, all my life I would have been voted the least likely to succeed,” says Dorsey, who has dyslexia. With a high school GPA that hovered around 1.5, Dorsey started at Richard Bland College in Petersburg, Virginia, on probation. He flunked out the first semester and spent the next four years in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He continued to work on his studies, teaching himself to eventually read at the college level and finished one final semester at Richard Bland before transferring to VCU.
“My experience at VCU was intoxicating to say the least,” Dorsey says. “Every class I took got me closer to that coveted degree I was never expected to attain. I learned that one can have difficulties learning in the younger years and still attain great success.”
Dorsey credits the lessons he learned in Economics 101 for serving as the spark that later prompted him to leave a senior vice president position at Wheat First Securities to start Dorsey, Wright & Associates. “I still mention in every talk I do, how Economics 101 changed my life,” he says. “Once I graduated from VCU, I realized I could do anything in the world. If I was asked to be president of the United States, I was ready.”
Dorsey started his career as a stockbroker at Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith but planned to have his own company by age 40. In 1987, at age 39, he started Dorsey, Wright & Associates, which grew to become a world leader in supplying technical research services to the financial industry. Just this year, he sold the company to NASDAQ for $225 million.
“I started Dorsey, Wright & Associates with $90,000 in borrowed money, a pregnant wife and two young boys. All we had in the beginning was a vision and hope,” he says. “I’ve learned that great success is in every one of us.”
“My experience at VCU was intoxicating to say the least. Every class I took got me closer to that coveted degree I was never expected to attain.”
See the full VCU Alumni Stars article here.