Surack to receive honorary degree from Trine

April 26, 2022

Chuck SurackTrine University will present an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Chuck Surack, founder and chairman of the board for Sweetwater, during its Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 7.

Based in Fort Wayne, Sweetwater is the top online retailer of music instruments and pro-audio equipment in the United States, employing more than 1,800 team members focused on serving more than one million customers each year.

“Mr. Surack is not only one of northeast Indiana’s most prominent business leaders, he and his wife Lisa are among this region’s top philanthropists, generously supporting many organizations including Trine University,” said Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., Trine University president. “It is a privilege to bestow this honor upon him. We are forever grateful to Sweetwater and Mr. Surack for their support of projects such as the Thunder Ice Arena, as well as the positive impact they make on the community at large.”

The son of 1956 Tri-State College (now Trine University) graduate Jim Surack, Chuck Surack has achieved entrepreneurial success driven by a passion for music and a dedication to “always do the right thing” in service of others. In his earliest days as a young child, he displayed this commitment by making and selling potholders by the hundreds and later managing an extensive paper route distribution team. He also credits his time as a Boy Scout as having had a profound impact on his thinking and success.

In 1979, music began to take over Surack’s entrepreneurial talents when he founded Sweetwater Sound as a four-track recording studio in the back of his VW bus. A few years after starting his mobile studio, he turned his technical skills to sound creation on the Kurzweil K250, one of the first keyboard samplers. Surack gained a national reputation for his skills while providing custom sound design and recording studio consulting to many well-known artists. Throughout the ’80s and ’90s he built Sweetwater into a team known for its tremendous technical expertise and customer-focused approach to helping others realize their musical dreams and aspirations.

In addition to Sweetwater, Surack owns more than 10 other businesses under the Surack Enterprises umbrella including SweetCars, Sweet Aviation, Sweet Helicopters and Longe Optical in Fort Wayne.

Beyond business, Surack and his wife Lisa are passionate about serving their community. It was this passion that lead them to start the Surack Family Foundation to continue making a difference an even greater impact in northeast Indiana. As leading philanthropists in the region, they have served in numerous volunteer roles and regularly give to over 600 organizations annually – including music-related organizations like UPAF and Arts United, along with Fort Wayne UNITED, The Rescue Mission, Boys and Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne, and Easter Seals Arc of Northeast Indiana. Chuck is currently chair of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Board of Directors.

Trine University’s Commencement begins at 10 a.m. and will be held in the Keith E. Busse/Steel Dynamics Inc. Athletic and Recreation Center. Tim Tebow, former Heisman Trophy winner and current ESPN broadcaster and noted philanthropist, will deliver the Commencement address.

Last Updated: 04/26/2022

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