Hanover College will present James Russell “Rusty” Rueff Jr. with the Doctor of Humane Letters during its 186th commencement ceremony. The conferral of the honorary degree, in recognition of Rueff’s leadership and support for the arts, will be Saturday, May 25, at the Point on Hanover’s campus.
An acclaimed investor, advisor, author, podcast host and venture coach for start-up companies, Rueff is a founding board director of the GRAMMY Music Education Coalition and past board chair of the Grammy Foundation in Los Angeles. He previously served as chief executive officer of SNOCAP, Inc, and was an executive vice president for Electronic Arts and PepsiCo.
In addition to his roles as advisor and investor, Rueff has served, or serves now, on the corporate boards of such ventures as Glassdoor, HireVue, runcoach, Alioth Talent and The Union Social Club. He is also the co-founder of Tech for America (T4A), an organization that accelerates solutions to public problems by connecting Silicon Valley innovators with public leaders at local, state, and national levels.
Rueff is a member of the Academy of Television and Radio Sciences and the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences. He is also a trustee and former president of the board of trustees of American Conservatory Theatre. He and his wife are the named benefactors of Purdue University’s Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Design, Art and Performance. He also serves as a member of Purdue’s School of Liberal Arts Dean's Advisory Council.
In 2014, President Obama appointed Rueff to serve on the President’s Advisory Committee for the Arts at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
A native of Jeffersonville, Ind., Rueff attended Hanover for two years before transferring to Purdue. While at Hanover, he participated as part of the College’s theatre department and appeared in two plays, including “Madwoman of Chaillot” and “Love’s Labor’s Lost.”
At Purdue, he completed a bachelor's degree in radio and television in 1984 and a master's degree in counseling in 1986.
Rueff spent six years in commercial radio as an on-air personality. Starting his radio time at WORX in Madison, Ind., and ending in Indianapolis, Ind., before moving to a career in human resources at the Pratt & Whitney Division of United Technologies and PepsiCo.
He worked for PepsiCo for more than 10 years, including a stint as vice president, international human resources, before leaving to join Electronic Arts (EA). He served EA as executive vice president of human resources with responsibilities for global human resources, talent management, corporate services, facilities and real estate, corporate communications and government affairs.
From 2005-08, Rueff was chief executive for SNOCAP, Inc., which was the pioneer end-to-end solution for digital rights and content management services. The company allowed record labels and individual artists to monetize their digital creations on websites and social media networks.
In addition, he is also the co-author of “Talent Force: A New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business.” The work explores the social, cultural and economic forces that affect hiring and business-building. He also authors his own daily faith and work blog and is a co-host of “The Faith Driven Entrepreneur” podcast.