Sharing a Wealth of Knowledge
Michael Dorsey grew up in Charleston, S.C., graduating from high school early at age 16. Since his family didn’t understand the process of accessing college, and Michael Dorsey was focused on building his future, he enrolled and attended the Breckenridge Job Corps Center in Morganfield, KY. The Breckenridge Center resembled a self-contained city with more than 200 buildings including a hospital, fire department, and police force. There, Dorsey focused on honing his business clerical skills.
After completing his technical education with that Job Corps., Dorsey moved to Minneapolis to attend an advanced Job Corps., the Brotherhood of Railway and Airline Clerks (BRAC), living at the YMCA at 9th and LaSalle in downtown Minneapolis. At BRAC, Dorsey received focused training in transportation and clerical, completing the program in November of 1983.
An upset in the transportation industry shifted the trajectory of Dorsey’s career and he found himself looking for a new opportunity. Upon the recommendation of a friend who was aware of his typing efficiency, Dorsey applied to and was hired as a wire operator in the bond department at Dain, a business focusing on the purchase, sale, and brokerage of securities. Dorsey absorbed the environment and took notice of the success being achieved by his colleagues. When he asked how he could advance in the field of finance, he was directed to obtain a college degree.
In Pursuit of an Education
Dorsey began his collegiate journey at Minneapolis College in 1986, while he continued working. The College was an easy walk from work at Dain and provided a welcoming environment and a student population that, like him, was highly-focused and skewed slightly older. After graduating from Minneapolis College, he studied at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School where he achieved a bachelor’s degree in finance. Dorsey always attended school in the evening so he could balance his studies alongside his career while helping to raise a family.
After graduating, Dorsey chose to take an opportunity at Norwest (now Wells Fargo) where he worked as a trader for 17 years. In 2015, the company’s trading function moved to Charlotte, N.C., and he didn’t want to make the move at that time given he had just started pursuing his master’s degree at the Carlson School in the fall of 2014. Dorsey had worked 10-12 hours per day for 31 years and had an array of other investments, so he had the luxury of retiring in 2015. He celebrated a successful career spending three years traveling to 29 countries on six continents with his wife Marilyn.
Sharing a Wealth of Knowledge
The Dorsey’s world travels were halted by the COVID-19 pandemic and he and his wife returned to their home in Golden Valley, MN. When Dorsey began asking himself, “what now,” his son-in-law, WBA World Welterweight Champion Jamal “Shango” James, invited him to consider joining him on the Minneapolis College Foundation Board of Directors. The idea intrigued Dorsey and he toured the college and proceeded through the vetting and onboarding process of the Foundation.
As Dorsey became involved in Minneapolis College events, he met Charles Watson, African American Empowerment Coordinator in the Equity and Inclusion Division. Charles Watson learned about Dorsey’s knowledge in the financial industry and quickly recognized what an asset he could be to the student population.
“I always encourage students to think about their legacy and how they can make a difference, leaving the world a better place than they found it,” said Watson, who first thought about his own legacy at summer camp in New Hampshire many years before. “I invited Michael to share his expertise and teach financial literacy to our students in the summer of 2023. I believe financial literacy is a justice intervention and an antidote to intergenerational poverty. Michael is an example of an alum that graduates, goes out and builds knowledge and a successful career, and returns to their educational roots to share their expertise and plant seeds for the next generation.”
Passionate about financial literacy, Dorsey developed a curriculum that he delivered to students at the College focused on budgeting, credit, investments, and future state planning. “I have honest, frank, and succinct conversations with the students so they understand the pros and cons of a financial system that can swallow them up if they don’t understand it,” said Dorsey. “It’s important to me to share my knowledge. After all, we shouldn’t take it all with us.”
In January of 2023, Dorsey extended his commitment to the College and joined the Minneapolis College Foundation Board of Directors. He was quickly recruited to the finance committee where he leads meaningful conversations, lending his vast knowledge of the financial markets to support the College in building assets so they can give more to their community.
“It's truly a blessing to have Michael on the College Foundation Board,” said Beverly Wadsworth, Director of Institutional Advancement and the Minneapolis College Foundation. “Given his extensive experience in the finance industry, Michael lends knowledge and expertise to our Finance and Audit Committee while, at the same time, generously shares his personal time and talents with current Minneapolis College students. The work of our Foundation and student population is better for it.”