Scott Hamilton ('94)
Scott Hamilton is a world-renowned figure skater, sports analyst/commentator, and businessman as well as an honorary degree holder from BGSU in 1994. At age 13 he left home to train for national competition. His mother, a grade school teacher, went back to school to become a college professor to help finance his expensive training, even as she was undergoing treatment for cancer. When his mother died, Mr. Hamilton resolved to become a world champion figure skater, and succeeded, despite the resistance of skating judges who believed he was too small to compete at the international level.
From 1980-84 Mr. Hamilton won every national and world competition, capping his career with a gold medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. On turning professional after his Olympic victory, he again encountered resistance from promoters and television executives who believed that only female figure skaters could draw an audience. Frustrated with the lack of commercial opportunities for male figure skaters, Mr. Hamilton created his own professional ice revue, The Scott Hamilton America Tour, which evolved into the touring spectacle Stars on Ice. After 12 years of unsuccessfully pitching proposals to skeptical television executives, Mr. Hamilton at last won the first in a series of prime time network television specials.
His ebullient personality, humor, and showmanship revolutionized the role of the male figure skater and helped create a vast new audience for figure skating. Mr. Hamilton currently serves on the Board of Directors for Special Olympics International.