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Peter B. Lewis Advises CWRU Graduates: Pursuit Of Passions Is The Best Path To Success

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Cleveland business leader Peter B Lewis told Case Western Reserve graduates that their first responsibility is to take care of themselves as they move through life. ideastream's Bill Rice reports the Progressive Insurance Corporation Chairman's commencement address Sunday paid tribute to the graduates AND their alma mater.

Monday, May 20, 2013 at 5:42 am

Lewis offered graduates a handful tips for success going forward. He told them -- quote -- "you are the most important person in your life," and said when they have money to invest, they should invest in themselves. At the same time, he said, they should nurture their relationships.

He urged them to be clear about their objectives, and seek a career that makes them truly happy.

Lewis: "The passion to improve and enjoy everything will make your life more vibrant, interesting and successful. Find work you enjoy, and enjoy doing. Keep playing with the openness of a child. Experiment with your passions."

Lewis also called on graduates to challenge conventional wisdom. He said that's what he did when he steered progressive to offer insurance to people widely considered too risky. And he pointed to one of HIS more current passions:

Lewis: "Currently I am challenging convention by supporting marijuana reform. We are making progress."

Lewis has donated millions to Case Western Reserve over the years, including nearly 37 million for the Weatherhead School of Business building that bears his name. A decade ago, angry over what he saw as mismangement of that and other Case affairs, Lewis suspended making charitable gifts to the school, and Cleveland charities in general, for a year.

He has apparently put that anger behind him. He told graduates to love and support -- quote --"this wonderful place."

ideastream is one of Lewis's many beneficiaries.

Bill Rice, 90.3.

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