The Centennial Center for Leadership recently welcomed venture capitalist Terry McGuire ’78 as the final speaker in its Leadership Café series. McGuire spoke with students about entrepreneurial leadership and the ways in which their liberal arts education has prepared them to be successful. In February, he joined the campus via Skype as a judge for “The Pitch” entrepreneurial competition.
“Entrepreneurial leadership comes from, first and foremost, a desire to change the world,” says McGuire. “Successful entrepreneurs always invest in people first, products second. This is true for venture capitalists, managers and club leaders on college campuses. The people who you surround yourself with will play a tremendous role in your success.”
After the floor was opened for questions, students took the opportunity to pick McGuire’s brain about how a liberal arts education was specifically geared to engineer their success in the workplace.
“Recent studies indicate that a greater number of professionals who are in top positions in the workforce, including CEOs, CFOs, and COOs, have liberal arts backgrounds, compared to those with strictly technical training,” responds McGuire. “Liberal arts enable students to peel back the layers and ask important questions. While there have been people who have been successful without graduating college, including the late Apple founder Steve Jobs and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, they are the exception, not the rule.”
Raphael Durand ’13 attended the event in order to gain insight on the leadership path that McGuire had taken in order to provide insight onto Durand’s own career path.
“Terry McGuire offered useful advice for approaching not only leadership, but in pursuing one’s passions,” says Durand. “Specifically, he believed that integrity is vital to one’s credibility as a leader. These are the pieces of advice that allow us to reflect on our own leadership.”
McGuire earned his B.S. in physics and economics from Hobart and was a member of Sigma Chi. He attended Dartmouth College for his master’s in engineering and then continued on to Harvard University to earn an MBA, where he was elected president of Harvard Business School’s Venture Capital Club. Prior to co-founding Polaris Venture Partners with Jonathan Flint ’73, McGuire worked at Golder Thoma & Cressey as well as Burr Egan Deleage.
Since his graduation, McGuire has been involved with the Colleges in numerous ways. He and his wife, Trustee Carolyn Carr McGuire ‘78 provided for the renovation of 775 South Main Street, the former Sigma Chi fraternity building, into a student residence, the Carr McGuire House.
The Leadership Café is designed to be unrehearsed anduncensored, and invites leaders to share their leadership path and experiences. Past Leadership Café speakers have included President Mark D. Gearan, Assistant Vice President for the Performing Arts Initiative Mara O’Laughlin ’66, Professor of Economics Tom Drennen, Instructor of Philosophy Rodmon King, and Head William Smith Soccer Coach Aliceann Wilber.