Drake University today announced it has awarded Rocco B. Commisso, the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Mediacom Communications Corporation, an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree.
“While other broadband providers exited Iowa, Mediacom—under Mr. Commisso’s leadership—invested in infrastructure critical to the economic vitality of our state,” said Drake University President Marty Martin. “Mediacom has demonstrated its shared commitment to Drake University’s inspiration statement: to strengthen the communities we serve.”
In 2017, Mediacom made 1-gigabit internet service available to more than 300 communities in Iowa as part of a three-year, $1 billion capital investment plan. In 2020, Mediacom chose Iowa as the location for the first ever field trial showcasing the multi-gigabit speeds of the cable industry’s new 10G platform.
“Rocco jumped at the opportunity to make a major investment in Iowa’s telecommunications infrastructure,” said Tom Vilsack, United States Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa governor, in a recommendation letter to the Drake University Honorary Degree Committee. “From the very beginning, Rocco promised to bring Iowans the same or better services as the residents of America’s largest metropolitan areas, and he has done so for over two decades.”
Commisso founded Mediacom in 1995 after serving as an executive for Cablevision Industries until the company’s merger with Time Warner. Since that time, Commisso has grown Mediacom into one of the largest cable television providers in the United States. After a successful initial public offering in 2000, Commisso took Mediacom private in 2011, and he and his family continue to own the company today.
“Home to nearly 1,600 of our dedicated employees and a third of our loyal customer base, Iowa has long been the crown jewel of Mediacom’s 22 state network operations,” said Commisso. “It is a tremendous privilege to receive an honorary degree from Drake, a distinguished university that sits in the heart of Iowa’s capital and whose administration, faculty and graduates have made immeasurable contributions to the state’s economic, educational and cultural advancement.”
Commisso is a native of Calabria, Italy, and immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 12. He attended Columbia University on a full undergraduate scholarship where he earned both a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and an MBA degree from the Graduate Business School. Commisso was co-captain of the soccer team during his time at Columbia. Today, he owns world-renowned ACF Fiorentina which competes in Serie A, the top division of Italian soccer. Commisso is a resident of New Jersey.
The honorary doctorate is the highest honor that the University bestows. Honorary degree recipients are selected by the Honorary Degree Committee and approved by the Faculty Senate and Drake University Board of Trustees.
Drake University is recognized as one of the finest national liberal arts universities. A distinctive and distinguished private university in Des Moines, Iowa, Drake enrolls nearly 3,000 undergraduate and more than 1,800 graduate students. Students choose from more than 70 majors, minors, and concentrations and 20 graduate degrees offered through seven colleges and schools. In addition, Drake offers a range of continuing education programs serving working professionals, community members, and area businesses. Drake recognizes the importance of its location in Iowa’s capital city and seeks to connect its teaching and learning to the wealth of cultural, recreational, and business resources it provides. At the same time, it integrates global thinking and intercultural learning into everything it does, preparing students to lead in an increasingly interconnected world.
About Mediacom Communications
Mediacom Communications Corporation is the 5th largest cable operator in the United States and the leading gigabit broadband provider to smaller markets primarily in the Midwest and Southeast. Through its fiber-rich network, Mediacom provides high-speed data, video and phone services to over 1.5 million households and businesses across 22 states. The company delivers scalable broadband solutions to commercial and public-sector customers of all sizes through Mediacom Business, and sells advertising and production services under the OnMedia brand. More information about Mediacom is available at mediacomcable.com.