Hartley & Mary Peavey Deliver Commencement Addresses at Mississippi State University

May 16, 2011

Hartley and Mary Peavey encouraged the nearly 2,400 spring graduates of their shared alma mater to live with passion and give back during separate commencement addresses on April 29 and 30.

"Success is not about money, it’s feeling good about what you do," said Hartley Peavey, founder and CEO of Peavey Electronics Corporation, to Mississippi State University’s class of 2011 graduates.

“The truth about entrepreneurs is that we have to approach every day with enthusiasm, a willingness to learn from mistakes and the desire to innovate, and trust that those traits will guide us to success. My only advice to you is never quit.”

As the leaders of Peavey Electronics Corporation, Hartley and Mary Peavey head one of the world’s largest and most diversified manufacturers and suppliers of musical-equipment and professional-audio products, with distribution into more than 130 countries. Hartley founded the company after graduating from Mississippi State in 1965.

“Peavey is successful because we all have great passion for what we do,” said Mary Peavey, President of Peavey Electronics Corporation. “It is self defeating to live without passion for your work. I encourage all of you, if you can’t find the job you want right away—and in this economy you may not—consider taking another job in the same industry.

"When you do get that job,” she added, “I hope that you will give back by donating your time and leadership through mentoring young people.”

Peavey, a board member of the national Afterschool Alliance, stressed the importance of education, leadership and afterschool programs in the lives of the nation’s youth. “More than 15 million kids today go home to an empty house, and those hours between 3 and 6 p.m. are crucial.”

During the 46-year history of Peavey Electronics, the Meridian, Mississippi-based company has earned more than 180 patents around the world for innovations in how we hear and play music.

Two of Peavey’s most enduring innovations include pioneering the use of CNC manufacturing techniques in making guitars—a move that brought consistency and quality and ushered in the modern era of guitar production—and MediaMatrix®, which brought large-scale sound systems into the digital age by allowing users to configure and control them from a computer. Peavey MediaMatrix is the audio-system architecture in more than 5,000 airports, government and convention halls, theme parks, hotels, stadiums and other large venues around the world.

Gifted with a technical mind and a spirit for innovation, Hartley Peavey’s tenacity, ingenuity and self-determination are the roots of his success. Peavey is a member of the Rock Walk of Fame, Vintage Guitar Hall of Fame and Mississippi Musician’s Hall of Fame, and has received multiple Presidential “E” Star Awards for Exports, the Senatorial Medal of Freedom, the National Literacy Honors Award and the MIPA (Musikmesse International Press Association) Lifetime Achievement Award, the industry’s highest honor.

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