Jerre and Mary Joy Stead, Founders
Jerre and Mary Joy Stead were raised in Maquoketa, Iowa, where they met in 1957. They were married in 1961 and have raised two children. Their life together has been one of remarkable achievement and commitment to church, family, and effective philanthropy. Garrett-Evangelical has been fortunate to have the benefit of the Steads’ vision and generosity.
Jerre Stead earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Iowa in 1965. In 1987, after 21 years of management experience at Honeywell, Inc., he joined Square D Company of Palatine, Illinois, as president and chief operating officer and chairman of the board. In 1991, Jerre became president and chief executive officer of AT&T’s business products division, where he engineered a dramatic turnaround of the division. He was named chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T/NCR in 1993. In 1995, Jerre became chairman and chief executive officer of Legent Corporation in Herndon, Virginia, where he was instrumental in completing a successful merger with Computer Associates. In 1996, he joined Ingram Micro, the world’s largest distributor of technology products, as the chief executive officer with a proven track record, great vision, and global expertise. In 2000, after retiring from Ingram Micro, he became executive chairman of IHS Inc., a global information company offering expertise in the areas of energy, economics, geopolitical risk, sustainability and supply-chain management. Jerre assumed the additional role of CEO for IHS Inc. on September 20, 2006, which he maintained until June of 2013. He now serves as Executive Chairman of the company.
Throughout his business life, Jerre Stead has been admired and respected for his transformational leadership style and a deep commitment to a strong code of values. He is co-author with James A. Belasco of Soaring with the Phoenix: Renewing the Vision, Reviving the Spirit, and Re-creating the Success of Your Company. He has served as a trustee at Garrett-Evangelical since 1991 and currently serves as chair of the board of trustees and co-chair of the seminary’s Forging Our Future: Phase Three capital campaign.
Mary Joy has been up to the challenges dictated by Jerre’s high profile and demanding career. Although she has not sought the limelight, she has been a full and indispensable partner in the couple’s life decisions and philanthropic endeavors. She is active in church affairs, an avid golfer (along with Jerre), and a licensed airplane pilot. Family has always been at the center of the Stead’s life and a primary goal for both Steads is to fulfill their roles as parents and grandparents. Jerre and Mary Joy have lived their lives as a shared commitment to helping others.
In 1996, Jerre and Mary Joy set the pace for the Bold Leaders for a New World campaign through a major lead gift. Then in 1997, they doubled that commitment. Their gifts have endowed the Jerre L. and Mary Joy Stead Center for Ethics and Values and the Jerre L. and Mary Joy Stead Chair of Christian Social Ethics, a position which ensures that Garrett-Evangelical will always have a faculty person who teaches Christian Social Ethics and directs the work of the Stead Center. In addition, it was announced at the seminary’s board of trustees meeting on May 12, 2011, that Jerre and Mary Joy had made a commitment of $5 million to Garrett-Evangelical’s unrestricted endowment. In announcing this most recent commitment, Mr. Stead challenged the other trustees to match his gift and help lead the way in reaching the $100 million Forging our Future Phase Three campaign goal by addressing the largest component of the campaign—building the seminary’s unrestricted endowment. In response to this generous gift from the Steads, the board of trustees voted unanimously to rename Lesemann Hall as the Jerre and Mary Joy Stead Hall. The Steads also had made an earlier campaign commitment to endow three full-tuition plus stipend scholarships for students at the seminary.