Rock and Roll Hall of Fame leader will address summer graduates
Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, will speak at Ohio State’s summer commencement, which begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 12, at the Jerome Schottenstein Center. About 1,500 students will receive degrees during the ceremony.
Stewart has been the president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum since 1999. The Museum, a nonprofit organization, exists to educate visitors, music fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. Since opening in 1995, the Museum has welcomed more than eight million people with annual visitors coming from all 50 states in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame generates an annual economic impact of more than $100 million to Northeast Ohio.
“Ohio State is honored to have Terry Stewart address our graduates and their families at our first summer semester commencement,” said President E. Gordon Gee. “As a prominent leader in music and the community, Mr. Stewart brings a unique perspective and insight in explaining significant shifts in attitudes toward culture, race, and gender in American life, as evidenced through music.”
A native of Alabama, Stewart earned a JD in Law and MBA in finance from Cornell University. He earned two undergraduate degrees, a BS in engineering and a BA in education from Rutgers University in 1969.
Before joining the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Stewart was president and chief operating officer and later vice chairman of Marvel Entertainment Group from 1989-99. Earlier he developed a traditional business background, working as vice president of business development for Combustion Engineering, Inc., and vice president of Business Development and later as general manager of Strategic Planning and Business Development for the Continental Group, Inc.
Long active in civic and philanthropic endeavors, Stewart is currently on the board of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation in Philadelphia, and he serves as an advisor for the annual Summer Stage Concert Series in Central Park in association with the City Parks Foundation in New York City. He is also a member of the Abu Dhabi Investment House Entertainment Advisory Board in Abu Dhabi.
Locally, he serves on the boards for the Cleveland Film Commission, Positively Cleveland: the Cleveland Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio. Previously, Stewart served on the boards of the U.S. Committee for UNICEF in New York and the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, based in Chicago.
Stewart has received a number of distinguished awards. In 2008, he was named the 48th Annual Business Executive of the Year by the Sales & Marketing Executives Association of Cleveland. In 2010, he was elected into the Rutgers University Hall of Distinguished Alumni, named a “Person Who Matters” by Crain’s Cleveland Business and one of “The Power 100” by Inside Business Magazine. He received a VERA award (Voice Education and Research Awareness) from the Voice Foundation based in Philadelphia.
Stewart is well known as an avid collector of pop culture memorabilia. His extensive collection includes a world-class record collection, concert and movie posters, rock and roll memorabilia and jukeboxes.
In addition, during the ceremony, Ohio State will present the honorary Doctor of Business degree to Stewart.
The university will present the Distinguished Service Award to Trella Romine, who was instrumental in establishing the Larry Yoder Prairie Nature Preserve at Ohio State Marion; Steve Sterrett, whose distinguished career with the university included many important communications and community outreach projects; Alec Wightman, a graduate of the Moritz College of Law who has earned a reputation as an exceptional lawyer and who has continued to give back to his alma mater; and Jon Woods, who retired this year after 28 years of leading The Ohio State University Marching Band.