Greater Media, Inc., Chairman and CEO Peter H. Smyth, speaking at Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School graduate student Commencement advised graduates to “take risks” and to “develop a business plan for life” as they follow their career and personal ambitions.

“Never let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve what it is that you are most passionate about,” he said during morning ceremonies on Saturday, May 21, 2011, at the Westin Copley Hotel.

Suffolk University honored Smyth, who oversees one of the nation’s leading broadcasting companies, with an honorary Doctor of Commerce at Sunday’s undergraduate Commencement ceremonies.

Smyth told the graduates about his boyhood fascination with radio and his determination to make a career in broadcasting. He described personal sacrifices as he left a solid corporate job to start at the bottom rung of the Boston radio ladder.

“This period was the beginning of the most exciting chapter of my life,” said Smyth.

Using Apple’s Steve Jobs and Dr. Paul Farmer of Partners in Health as examples of leaders who reached ambitious goals despite challenges, he told the Business School graduates to expect setbacks but to “get back up, and you will find your way again.”

He advised them to “develop a business plan for your life” and to “find your own board of directors … the mentors … the role models … the heroes in your life who can provide the guidance you need as you execute your plan.”

Smyth joined Greater Media 25 years ago as general manager of WMJX-FM Boston and has filled various additional roles, including group vice president of radio and chief operating officer. The broadcasting company has 23 AM and FM radio stations in Boston and four other major media markets.

Smyth has revolutionized the broadcasting industry by developing new technology and offering service innovations. He now oversees communications companies across America, including, in addition to radio stations, a group of weekly newspapers and several telecommunications towers.

Radio Ink Magazine, a leading broadcast industry publication, named Smyth “America’s Best Broadcaster” in 2005 and “Radio Executive of the Year” in 2007. For the past decade the magazine has recognized him each year as one of the “40 Most Powerful People in Radio.”

Smyth has served as the chairman of the Radio Advertising Bureau’s board of directors, is past president of the New England Media Association and was on the board of directors of the National Association of Broadcasters and the HD Digital Alliance Oversight Committee.

He also serves the community as a director of the New England Baptist Hospital and the One Hundred Club of Massachusetts – an organization dedicated to enhancing the welfare and safety of families of public safety officers and firefighters. He is a past member of the boards of Emerson College and the United Way of Massachusetts. His commitment to the community has been recognized often, including with the 2007 “Humanitarian of the Year” Award from the Hundred Club of Massachusetts.

Smyth is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross.

Honorary Degrees

In addition to honoring Smyth, the Sawyer Business School and College of Arts and Sciences awarded the following honorary degrees:

• CBS newsman Jeff Glor, undergraduate speaker, honorary Doctor of Journalism
• Joaquín Almunia, a vice president of the European Commission, the EU Executive branch, College of Arts and Sciences graduate commencement speaker, honorary Doctor of Economics
• Joseph Corcoran, chairman, Corcoran Jennison Companies, honorary Doctor of Business Administration
• Jeanette G. Clough, president and CEO, Mount Auburn Hospital, honorary Doctor of Business Administration
• Marshall M. Sloane, chairman of the board, Century Bank, honorary Doctor of Business Administration

The Law School awarded the following honorary degrees:

• William “Bill” Bratton, , a security expert who has led the nation’s largest police departments, commencement speaker with wife Rikki Klieman, honorary Doctor of Laws
• Rikki Klieman, television personality and trial attorney, speaker, honorary Doctor of Laws
• David Z. Chesnoff, Esquire, Goodman and Chesnoff, honorary Doctor of Laws
• The Honorable John E. Fenton, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Law and former dean of Suffolk Law School, retired Chief Administrative Justice of the Massachusetts Trial Court, honorary Doctor of Laws
• The Honorable Therese Murray, president of the Senate of the Commonwealth, honorary Doctor of Laws


• College of Arts and Sciences bachelor’s degree candidates: 782
• College master’s degree and doctoral candidates: 276
• Sawyer Business School bachelor’s degree candidates: 521
• Business School master’s degree candidates: 410
• Law School to confer 450 juris doctor, 15 master of laws degrees