Donald Katz revolutionized both the audio world and literature when he founded Audible Inc. in 1995, and helped to rejuvenate downtown Newark when he relocated his company to One Washington Park. On May 21 this visionary’s many accomplishments will be recognized when he receives an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters as part of the ceremony for the Rutgers University—Newark Class of 2014 at the Prudential Center in Newark. Katz also will address some 3,000 graduates and their guests. The ceremony begins at 9 a.m.
That date also will see the first female chancellor in Rutgers history, Nancy Cantor, preside over the first multi-school commencement ceremony in the 100-year-plus history of RU-N. Undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees will be awarded after Katz delivers his remarks.Katz’s company is the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio information and entertainment on the Internet, serving millions of listeners and offering more than 150,000 downloadable audiobooks, audio editions of periodicals, and other programs. Under Katz’s leadership, audible.com commercialized the first portable digital audio player in 1997, four years before the introduction of the iPod. Audible is the exclusive supplier of audiobooks to Apple’s iTunes Store worldwide and operates 12 global outlets including audible.co.uk in London, audible.de in Berlin, and audible.fr in Paris. Audible was acquired by Amazon.com, Inc., in 2008 and is now an Amazon.com subsidiary.
Prior to founding Audible in 1995, Katz was a journalist and author for 20 years. His work won a National Magazine Award, an Overseas Press Club Award, the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, among other prizes.
Katz graduated from New York University in 1974, where he studied with novelist Ralph Ellison. He attributes his fascination with audio to Ellison, who emphasized the role of oral and vernacular culture as a fundamental underpinning of American literature. Katz also attended The University of Chicago as well as The London School of Economics, from which he holds a master of science in economics. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey, where he served as a member of the public library board for nine years. He has served on the board of Uncommon Schools, a nonprofit organization that manages several of the most outstanding urban college preparatory charter schools in the Northeast, since the organization was founded in 1997. In February 2014, he was named chair of Newark’s Brick City Development Corporation.
Participating in the ceremonies will be graduating students from the Newark College of Arts and Sciences, University College-Newark, the Graduate School-Newark, the Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick; the School of Criminal Justice and the School of Public Affairs and Administration.
The School of Law-Newark and the Rutgers College of Nursing will hold separate convocations. The School of Law-Newark’s ceremony is May 21, at 2 p.m., at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Approximately 230 law graduates will hear remarks from Rutgers Senior Vice President and General Counsel John J. Farmer Jr. during a combined commencement and graduation recognition program. Some 200 members of the Rutgers College of Nursing (CON) Class of 2014 will take part in a 10:30 a.m. ceremony at the Golden Dome Athletic Center, and hear remarks by Dr. Barbara Aranda-Naranjo, director, Division of Training and Capacity Development of the United States Department of Health, Health Resources and Services Administration HIV/AIDS Programs.
Media contact: Carla Capizzi, email@example.com