2009 Alumni Hall of Fame Honoree

Steve Sansweet has had two very different but equally fulfilling careers, one fairly unusual for a corporate organizational chart. Born and raised in Wynnefield section of Philadelphia, Sansweet knew he wanted to be a journalist from age six, when he hand-printed the Hobart Street News and sold copies to neighbors for three cents. School newspapers, magazines and yearbooks followed, and a major in journalism at Temple seemed preordained.

Sansweet learned much from his classes, many taught by working journalists. But he learned just as much from a unique community of fellow students who put out the four-times-a-week Temple News. He worked on the special issue reporting the assassination of John F. Kennedy. As two-term editor in chief a few years later, he called in late-night instructions to hand-print a banner headline announcing a next-day visit to campus by President Lyndon Johnson.

Sansweet secured a prestigious summer internship at the Philadelphia Inquirer between his junior and senior years (he worked the night police beat); graduated magna cum laude and was named outstanding journalism graduate; and immediately went to work full-time for the Inquirer after graduation. When, in early 1969, he told the then-city editor of the Annenberg-run newspaper that he was leaving to become a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, the executive expressed surprise. “But you’re a good writer,” he said. “I could see you leaving for the New York Daily News, but the Journal?”

After working in the Journal’s Philadelphia and Montreal bureaus, Sansweet was transferred to Los Angeles, where he covered the gaming industry, aerospace, banking and Hollywood. Sansweet was a lecturer in business journalism at use in the mid-1980s, a course he created. He became the Journal’s Los Angeles bureau chief in 1987 until 1996, when he made a leap of faith and followed his bliss – and passion – to become a director of content management and head of fan relations at Lucasfilm Ltd.

As head of fan relations, Sansweet acts as the liaison between the company and its fans. He has amassed the world’s largest private collection of Star Wars memorabilia, housed in a 5,000-square-foot private museum – a converted chicken barn – in Sonoma County, Calif., where he lives with his partner of 33 years, Bob Canning. Not abandoning his love of writing, Sansweel has 15 books to his credit. His latest, due in November 1009, is Star Wars: 1,000 Collectibles Memorabilia And Stories From a Galaxy Far, Far Away.