Renowned Entrepreneur Joe Ricketts to Deliver 2024 Commencement Address

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- by New College Communications

SARASOTA, Fla. — New College President Richard Corcoran proudly announces that esteemed entrepreneur and philanthropist Joe Ricketts will be the commencement speaker at this year’s graduation ceremony on Friday, May 17, 2024. Ricketts will deliver his address to a valued assembly of graduates and their families amidst the serene backdrop of the Sarasota Bayfront, adjacent to College Hall and the Historic Ringling Mansion.

A titan in the business realm, Ricketts boasts over 35 years of experience in building one of the largest brokerage firms, TD Ameritrade, recently sold to Charles Schwab. His visionary approach to recognizing market opportunities in the deregulated discount securities market, coupled with innovative technologies and distinctive marketing strategies, propelled TD Ameritrade into a global financial juggernaut after its inception as First Omaha Securities in 1975.

Beyond his illustrious business achievements, Ricketts is also celebrated for his family’s ownership of the Chicago Cubs, culminating in the end of the franchise’s century-long title drought with a historic World Series win in 2016. However, his impact extends far beyond the financial sector and realm of sports, as evidenced by his dedication to philanthropy and entrepreneurship.

Earlier this year, Ricketts embarked on a groundbreaking venture in Sarasota, announcing New College as the first institution in the nation to adopt a distance-learning curriculum from Ricketts Great Books College. This innovative initiative enables students worldwide to access a rigorous liberal arts education, with many eligible for scholarships that will allow them to graduate with little to no debt, thanks to Ricketts’ generous philanthropy.

“Joe Ricketts believes in the kind of education we hold dear at New College, a liberal arts education exploring the good, the true, and the beautiful,” Corcoran said. “Graduates of New College leave with the indelible lessons of how to think critically for themselves and not what to think by others. It has been a marvelous experience working with Joe over the last several months to provide a platform for students everywhere to learn timeless lessons from some of history’s greatest thinkers. We are honored to have him address our graduates this May.”

Some of Ricketts’s other notable ventures in entrepreneurship and philanthropy include Opportunity Education Foundation and Quest Forward Learning, The Cloisters on the Platte Foundation, Straight Arrow News, Village PieMaker, High Plains Bison, The Ricketts Conservation Foundation, and The Ricketts Art Foundation.

Ricketts is a native of Omaha, Nebraska, and a graduate of Creighton University. He resides in Little Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with his wife of 60 years, Marlene.

New College’s commencement ceremony remains an exclusive affair, reserved for graduates and their invited guests.

For further insights into the transformative collaboration between New College and Ricketts Great Books College, please visit