Charles Dolan, chairman and founder of Cablevision Systems Corp.
More than 1,000 alumni, parents and friends of Boston College are expected to attend the dinner tribute, which benefits the University's Presidential Scholars Program.
The dinner is co-chaired by Mario J. Gabelli, chairman of Gabelli Funds Inc.; University trustee Peter S. Lynch '65, vice chairman of Fidelity Management and Research; and Robert M. Devlin, chairman of Curragh Capital Partners. All three are parents of current or former Boston College students.
Dolan, a native of Cleveland and the son of an inventor, served in the US Air Force and studied at John Carroll University before blazing a trail in telecommunications. His earliest professional endeavors focused on the packaging, marketing and distribution of sports and industrial films. Working together with his wife in their Cleveland home, Dolan edited and produced short film reels of sports events for syndication to television stations.
Moving to New York City in the early 1960s, Dolan established Teleguide Inc., which provided information services via cable to New York City hotels. That same decade, he founded Sterling Manhattan Cable, the first urban cable television company in the nation. Sterling forged first-of-its-kind agreements to bring New York professional sports teams, cultural programming and movies into the homes of New York City cable viewers.
Dolan's next groundbreaking achievement came in the early 1970s, when he founded Home Box Office Inc., the first premium programming service in the cable television industry. He organized Cablevision Systems Corp. on Long Island after the sale of Home Box Office to Time Life Inc.
Cablevision now serves 3 million cable television households in the New York metropolitan area. Its New York tri-state customer base is the largest cable cluster in the nation. Last fall, the company launched its most significant technological advance to date, Interactive Optimum, which offers customers a comprehensive set of services including video-on-demand, digital programming, interactive television, a "click-to-view" programming guide and e-mail service through the television.
Dolan is a managing director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, a trustee of Fairfield University and a member of the board of governors of St. Francis Hospital in Port Washington, NY.
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