2021 Hamilton College Honorary Degree
Presented to Stephen I. Sadove ’73
Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer and a major source of growth for the U.S. economy. It’s no surprise, then, that retail’s future is on the minds of business leaders, policymakers, and consumers as the industry reinvents itself in light of e-commerce and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
As someone with decades of senior-level management experience for some of the world’s most successful companies and iconic brands, included Saks Incorporated where you were CEO and chairman, you are a respected and authoritative voice, providing leadership and direction for an industry adjusting to new economic realities. The stakes are high: According to the National Retail Federation, for which you served as chairman, retail supports more than one in four jobs in the United States.
Your service to the retail profession is enough to warrant our praise and honor, but you have applied your leadership and entrepreneurial skills more broadly, helping to raise millions of dollars for causes that are important to you and your wife, Karin. Happily, those causes include Hamilton, where your involvement is deep, personal, and enduring.
Your eight-year tenure as chair of the College’s Board of Trustees from 2013 to 2021 coincided with the start of Hamilton’s third century. It has been a period of remarkable growth for the College, marked by an even more accomplished and diverse student body, a faculty growing in stature and reputation, the successful launch and progress of a $400 million capital campaign, the hiring of an outstanding president, and spectacular new state-of-the-art facilities. The Hamilton brand has never been stronger.
Fittingly, the Sadove legacy will endure at Hamilton for generations through the endowed scholarships, professorships, and programs you and Karin supported, the Sadove Student Center at Emerson Hall that serves as the focal point for student activities on campus, and, of course, your three children — Stacy, David, and Laurie — who followed you to Hamilton.
With deep gratitude and profound admiration we recognize your contributions as retail influencer, philanthropist, and alumni volunteer extraordinaire.
December 3, 2021