The Florida commencement ceremony took place Tuesday, May 7th.
Northwood University Florida recently bestowed Jefferson City, Missouri resident Clyde Lear with an honorary doctorate degree at its 2013 commencement ceremony held on May 7th, 2013.
Also serving as the keynote speaker for the event, Lear shared a touching recount of his entrepreneurial journey and for the life-experiences which fueled his motivations to support today's youth.
While recommending authors such as Earl Nightingale, Lear encouraged audience members to visualize themselves as the honorable business people they'd like to become, and stressed the importance of writing one's personal and professional goals on a sheet of paper with the heading of a bible verse in order to envision their goals daily.
"Our graduates are still talking about Dr. Lear's message, as his higher education leadership experience and involvement, and outstanding success in the field of sports marketing, serve as inspiration to all of us, and are of special interest to our Entertainment, Sport and Promotion Management (ESPM) majors," said Northwood President Keith A. Pretty, JD.
The retired Chairman and CEO of Learfield Communications, Inc., Lear started the company in 1972 as an outgrowth of his master's project at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
Now the preeminent leader in the collegiate sports marketing arena boasting a rich history dating back to 1975, Learfield Sports is the exclusive provider of marketing services for athletic departments at 49 major institutions, including the likes of Missouri, Alabama, UNC, Stanford, Indiana, Wisconsin, OU, Miami, and Clemson. It also markets for and spearheads corporate partner platforms for the Big Ten Conference, Missouri Valley Conference, Rupp Arena and KFC Yum! Center.
Annually the Company awards the athletic programs that achieve high performance with the coveted Learfield Sports Directors Cup in partnership with USA Today and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). The Jefferson City-based organization has offices in 75 cities around the nation, and owns the nation's largest agricultural radio network, the Brownfield Network; five state news networks: the Missourinet, Radio Iowa, the Wisconsin Radio Network, South Carolina News Network and the Nebraska News Network.
"I grew up in Jefferson City and was fascinated by the news that came out of the Capital—state agencies, courts, the governor's office and the legislature. But because of its relatively small size, only the wire services covered these sources. The voices of the news-makers weren't covered by radio or television." Lear says. "So that was the impetus for starting the Missourinet," he continues, "and through its 70 affiliate radio stations, the network keeps all corners of Missouri connected; It's truly the only state-wide media.. He won an honor medal in Journalism from Missouri for his Missourinet; the award describing it as a strong, valuable, source of information for all Missourians. And the Missourinet continues to win accolades, including the prestigious Edward R. Murrow award for distinguished broadcast journalism.
"In those years the programs were distributed to the affiliate radio stations by 24-hour leased telephone circuits," Lear explains as to how he got involved in college sports: "so I concocted a business deal with the University of Missouri to sub-lease my circuits to them on Saturday afternoons and that's how I backed into this sports business."
For competitive reasons, the company changed from a radio company to a marketing company in the mid-1980s. It now exclusively handles stadium and arena signage, game day activities with advertisers, game program printing and sales, corporate hospitality and—in many venues—food and beverage sales.
Lear received a Master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Missouri in 1968 and an AB degree in 1966 from Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri. He attended high school in Jefferson City where he was born in 1944.
Lear is a leader in higher education. For 13 years he served on the Board of Curators of CMU and for five years was its Chair. He is a member of the 1992 Class of Distinguished Alumni from the University of Missouri, an award that highlighted his significant contribution to media in the state.
He was enshrined into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in January, 2012.
Lear, along with his wife, Sue, has worked tirelessly for young people across Missouri. In Jefferson City they helped other volunteers in bringing the faith-based organization Young Life to three local high schools and then to Columbia area high schools. Having served as chair for many years, they continue as committee members today. As a contribution to the state, he has been central to the annual Governor's Student Leadership Forum on Faith and Values—now in its 26th year, beginning in 1987. That three-day event scheduled around the Missouri Governor's Prayer Breakfast each January, brings college juniors from each of Missouri's four-year colleges and universities to Jefferson City to consider leadership from a different perspective: servant leadership, using the person of Jesus as an example. Each Governor since 1987 has thrown himself into this ecumenical, non-dogmatic effort that has had significant impact in these young lives.
The couple has three grown children and five grandchildren.
Dr.Lear's greatest love is mentoring. He and Sue use the company and other opportunities as platforms to develop outstanding executives and leaders. He gives significant time to helping college age—and post college age -- men and women grow personally and professionally.