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Alumni Profiles

11 Brands & Businesses Led by CEOs Who Graduated from SUNY

Nike CEO Innovation attended SUNY

It’s no surprise that our nearly 3 million alumni impact virtually every single sector of the economy across the globe (and in outer space)! The Power of SUNY extends talent to so many industries and career fields, and our alumni not only succeed, but shine as presidents, chief executives, directors, and true power players for some of the most influential companies and organizations in the world. From leading innovation at Nike to humanitarian advocacy through UNICEF, a SUNY education offers a truly comprehensive learning experience.

Check out this list of 10 alumni leading the way in their industries:



Brad GreyBrad Grey
CEO, Paramount Pictures

Brad Grey is the Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures Corporation. He’s also a television and film producer with titles including The Departed, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Sopranos. His successful career started while attending the University at Buffalo, where he majored in business and communications.


Carol EvansCarol Evans
CEO, Working Mother Magazine

Carol Evans is the President and Founder of Working Mother Media, which includes Working Mother magazine,, the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) and Diversity Best Practices. The SUNY Empire State College alumna is also the author of This Is How We Do It: The Working Mother Manifesto.


James DolanJames Dolan
CEO, Cablevision

James Dolan is the President and CEO of Cablevision and the Executive Chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company. While James attended SUNY New Paltz as a communications major, he began working for the company, which his father founded. He now manages Cabelvision’s sports properties including the Knicks and Rangers.


Walter AndersonWalter Anderson
CEO and Publisher, Parade Magazine

Former Chairman, CEO and Editor of Parade Magazine, Walter Anderson is responsible for increasing the publications circulation by more that 50% to 37 million worldwide. His career in the industry began in New York with Gannett Publications following him receiving his Associates degree from Westchester Community College.


Cetherine BertiniCatherine Bertini
CEO, World Food Program

Catherine Bertini served as the CEO of the UN World Food Program for ten years, where she assisted millions of victims of wars and natural disasters. During her tenure, she was praised for aiding in ending starvation in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo. The University at Albany alumna was awarded the World Food Prize Laureate in 2003.


Millard DrexlerMillard “Mickey” S. Drexler
CEO, J. Crew Group, Inc.

Millard Drexler is the Chairman and CEO of J. Crew and previously served as the President and CEO of The Gap. He’s credited fro elevating both and Gap and J. Crew to becoming the brands that they are today. The University at Buffalo alumnus also currently serves on the board of Warby Parker, Teach for America, Inc., and Apple, Inc.


nikeThomas E. Clarke
President, Nike, Inc.

Thomas Clarke is the President of Innovation at Nike, Inc. and has held various positions with the company since 1980, primarily in research, design, development, and marketing. He also serves on the board of Starwood Hotels and Rubbermaid, Inc. Clarke received his bachelor’s degree from the University at Albany in 1973.


Dennis HughesDenis Hughes
President, AFL-CIO; Chairman of the Board, Federal Reserve Bank of NY

Empire State College alumnus Denis Hughes served as the Chairman for the NY Federal Reserve and President of the NYS AFL-CIO. He was instrumental in securing federal funding to help rebuild NYC after the September 11, 2001 attacks and recently served as an advisor to Governor Cuomo’s Spending & Government Efficiency Commission.


Richard GelfondRich Gelfond
CEO, IMAX Corporation

Rich Gelfond is the CEO of IMAX Corporation. With his administration, the company has grown to operate over 500 theaters in 50 countries. He serves on the boards of several private and philanthropic organizations, including the Stony Brook Foundation – an affiliate of Stony Brook University, his alma mater.


Caryl SternCaryl M. Stern
President & CEO U.S. Fund for UNICEF

SUNY Oneonta alumna, Caryl Stern is the President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and former COO of the Anti-Defamation League and a renowned author. In her role with UNICEF, she advocates for continued U.S. Government support of UNICEF efforts.


Abbe RavenAbbe Raven
Chairman of A&E Television Networks, founder of The History Channel

Abbe Raven is the Chairman of A&E Networks, which includes A&E, Lifetime, History, LMN and Crime + Investigation. In 2012, the University at Buffalo alumna was named one of Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame.
Do you have any to add? Drop a note below!

Top photo: Nike Headquarters via ZeroLighting

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    Written by Lesley Adewunmi

    Lesley is a former graduate student assistant in the Office of New Media of the State University of New York. She earned a Master's in Public Administration at the University at Albany's Rockefeller College in Albany, NY in spring 2014.

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    Join the Conversation:


    There are 9 comments

  • I had no clue that so many brands were led by CEOs from Suny. I gotta say, I am impressed!

  • Jeff Clarke, a SUNY Geneseo alumnus, is the new CEO of Eastman Kodak Company.

  • Thomas Devlin says:

    Hamdi Ulukaya is the founder and sole owner of Chobani. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires index, Hamdi Ulukaya has a net worth of $1.1 billion. Ulukaya is an alumnus of UAlbany.

  • Sara Lewis says:

    My uncle, Lloyd Sobel is the CEO at Empire Merchants which is the premeire wine and spirits distribution company in the northeast. He is a graduate of SUNY Fredonia.

  • Bill Grau says:

    Don Garber, Commissioner of MAjor League Soccer and CEO of Soccer United Marketing is a graduate of SUNY Oneonta.

  • Not a brand, but by Baidu (BIDU) Founder and CEO Robin Li earned a graduate degree from UBuffalo.

  • SUNY Empire State College alumna Carol Evans ’77 spoke at commencement last year. She got a smooch on the cheek from the President when she visited the White House last year!

  • poppop says:

    FWIW: it’s University AT Buffalo, not “of Buffalo”

  • Leave a comment

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