Steve Sweeney exemplifies the Northeastern tradition of perseverance and hard work: He attended night classes while working full-time and raising a family, graduating in 1957 with an associate’s degree in engineering. Years later, he returned to the university as a trustee and helped guide the transformation from a commuter school into a more residential institution.
Steve spent nearly forty years of his successful professional career at Boston Edison Company, a utility company that is now part of NSTAR. He started as an engineer’s helper while attending night school at Northeastern, and rose within the company to become its chief executive officer and chairman in the mid-1980s. Recognizing the value of experiential education, Steve expanded co-op opportunities at Boston Edison for Northeastern students, making sure that each student’s work was “meaningful.”
He was elected to Northeastern’s Board of Trustees in 1986—a crucial time when the university was evolving from a commuter school to a residential campus with a smaller student body. Steve and his peers on the board, as he shares, “creat[ed] something that has lasted, and I think is doing well.” He was elected to lifetime trustee emeritus status in 2005. In addition to Northeastern, Steve is involved with many business and charitable organizations in the Boston area.
Steve believes strongly in giving back to Northeastern, and he and his wife, Genevieve, support students through the Stephen J. and Genevieve Sweeney Scholarship Fund. They hope that students who have benefited from their scholarship will, in turn, do the same for future generations of Huskies. The Sweeneys are members of Northeastern’s Huntington Society and the Frank Palmer Speare Society.
In 1994, Northeastern awarded Steve an honorary degree in public service. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Mount Saint Mary’s College and has completed many programs at Harvard Business School. Steve is a decorated veteran of the United States Army, serving in the Korean War as a first lieutenant, and he was awarded a Bronze Star for his service.
Steve and Genevieve Sweeney reside in Massachusetts and Florida.