Real Estate Finance & Investments Class Mixes With Alums in the Field

Alums mingle with students

T.J. Doyle (center left) and Ben Catanese (center right), both class of 2000, mingle with students on campus as part of an event held by the Department of International Business & Management. Photo by Dan Loh.

On the heels of an incredible funding round for their new business, Ben Catanese ’00 and T.J. Doyle ’00 give back

by Tony Moore

As part of a recent alumni networking event on campus, Ben Catanese and T.J. Doyle, both of the class of 2000, delivered lectures in Assistant Professor of International Business & Management Professor Qing Bai's Real Estate Finance & Investments course and mingled with students from diverse majors.

The pair are CEO and president/COO, respectively, of Legacy Automotive Capital, which specializes in the intricate financing of franchised new-car dealerships. They were the perfect fit for the class, and the event was a perfect illustration of Dickinson’s push to keep students engaged with alumni and help them explore careers and build networks that will help them thrive after graduation.

“It’s incredibly important to have guest speakers come to campus from industry into business and finance classes,” says Bai. “It helps bridge the gap between theory and practice, providing students with insights into current trends, challenges and opportunities in the field.”

Alums mix with students at a social event

Photo by Dan Loh.

Catanese and Doyle, who raised a half a billion dollars last year for a new fund, used cases from their business to illustrate data processing, business strategy formulation and financial decision-making, enabling students to grasp the relevance and applicability of their classroom learning. They shared their career journeys, including successes, failures and lessons learned along the way, and the event provided a roadmap for students in attendance.

“Hearing firsthand accounts of professional achievements can motivate and inspire students,” says Bai, “aiding them in envisioning their own paths to success in the business world.”

Leon Friebel ’26 (international business & management, quantitative economics) attended both the guest lecture and networking event—organized by the IB&M department, the Office of Advancement and the Advising, Internships & Career Center.

“The opportunity to engage with Ben and T.J. in person, ask questions and gain insights directly from the industry was a great opportunity to connect with the alums,” says Friebel, who hails from Aalen, Germany. “I believe that networking is equally as important as your education, and Dickinson provides you with a lot of opportunities through their strong alumni channels.”

Friebel is also the recipient of a scholarship created by Catalase and Doyle, one that he says allows him to expand his horizons.

“Being the recipient of a scholarship established by Dickinson alums holds immense significance for me, and I am very thankful,” he says, adding that it provides him with the opportunity to pursue his passion for data analytics in football and allows him to dive deeper into his research. “I can’t say it enough how thankful I am for this opportunity to further develop my academic and personal growth.”


Published May 6, 2024