John K. Castle, Pioneer in Private Equity Investing, Presented “Happy Warrior Award” At 2017 Al Smith Dinner

John K. Castle, chairman and CEO of the New York private equity firm Castle Harlan Inc., is the 2017 Happy Warrior Award recipient from The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation, which was presented Thursday at the 2017 Al Smith Dinner.

Castle shared speaking roles with keynote speaker Paul Ryan, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and acclaimed actress Patricia Heaton, the dinner’s master of ceremonies. The foundation holds the annual dinner, which brings together political and business leaders and features good-natured humorous quips, to raise funds for needy children of the Archdiocese of New York, as well as to honor Smith, a four-term governor of New York and the 1928 Democratic Presidential candidate. The dinner raised more than $3.5 million.

Smith was known as “The Happy Warrior” for his ability to maintain his positive outlook while tackling pressing social issues. Each year the foundation carries on the tradition of the “Happy Warrior” by recognizing an individual who exemplifies the character and leadership of Smith. Castle, this year’s recipient, helped build private equity investing into a major sector of investing and capital formation. He also is a leading philanthropist in health and education, and an adventurer.

Castle’s business career is long and distinguished. He is chairman and chief executive officer of Castle Harlan, Inc., a private merchant bank, and chairman and chief executive officer of Branford Castle, Inc., a firm that makes long-term investments in small to medium-sized private companies. Castle also is an advisory director of the DuPont Corporation Investment Management Co. Castle has committed a substantial portion of his time and resources to public service in education, healthcare and religious organizations over the past 35 years, and a number of philanthropies. He is also an adventurer who has traveled the world.

Castle received his bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his MBA as a Baker Scholar with High Distinction from Harvard, and he has been awarded four Honorary Doctorate degrees.