Sweetwater Sound founder inducted into Indiana Academy

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News release from the University of Saint Francis:

Sweetwater Sound founder and USF music technology program benefactor Surack inducted into Indiana Academy

(April 11, 2013) – Charles J. “Chuck” Surack, founder and CEO of Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne, University of Saint Francis (USF) honorary Doctor of Humane Letters recipient and USF music technology program benefactor, will be inducted into The Indiana Academy at the academy’s 43rd annual symposium at the Skyline Club in Indianapolis Monday.


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Surack will be recognized by the Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) for a lifetime of achievement and contribution to the state of Indiana.

Surack has built Sweetwater Sound into the third-largest music instrument and pro audio retailer in the U.S. The $250 million, 500-employee company was named Music Retailer of the Year by Music Inc. magazine in 2005 and 2012.

He is responsible for launching the music technology degree at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, providing guidance, information and assistance in its development and continuing operations. Sweetwater Sound engineers were made available to USF during the development of the Music Technology labs and other facilities. Sweetwater also provided some of the equipment needed to start the program.

He and his wife have created an endowed scholarship for students in the program who are experiencing financial need. In addition to his extensive local community service, he recently completed a term on the board of the National Association of Music Merchants.

“Chuck Surack has demonstrated his true friendship to this community and the University of Saint Francis,” said USF President Sister M. Elise Kriss, OSF. “His service on the boards of numerous charitable organizations, and his encouragement of employees to do likewise, has created a climate of giving at his business. His creation of jobs in the community, as well as his generous donations and support of the university, makes him worthy of this high honor by ICI.”

Modeled after The French Academy, The Indiana Academy was established in 1970 by ICI to recognize individual leadership, achievement and philanthropy designed to promote the advancement of the state, as well as its independent sector of higher education. With ongoing support from academy members and an enduring gift from the Tony and Mary Fendrich Hulman Endowment Fund, ICI continues to serve the state and its member institutions to help ensure academic excellence and choice in higher education for all students.

The University of Saint Francis is a member of ICI, a nonprofit association that represents the state’s 31 private, nonprofit institutions of higher education. ICI member institutions enroll approximately 90,000 students (approximately 20 percent of all undergraduates statewide) and annually produce more than 35 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in Indiana.

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