Louisiana Legends

Dr. Joseph Stewart

Original Airdate: November 19, 1997

Photo: Dr. Joseph Stewart Today the senior vice-president of corporate affairs for cereal industry giant Kellogg Company, Dr. Joseph Stewart was the first in his family to finish high school. He grew up working on his father's 60-acre farm in Maringouin, Louisiana, but despite his rural background he was taught to value education by his father, who left school in the third grade. After high school he won financial aid to attend Southern University. "At every point in my life, there's been somebody who's been a motivating force for me," he says.

During his career Dr. Stewart spent 10 years as director of child nutrition programs for the city of Washington, D.C., where he was internationally recognized for the quality of his work. He has also provided expert testimony to Congress on behalf of child nutrition legislation. After deciding to leave public service, he joined the Kellogg Company in 1980 and was promoted several times before becoming a senior vice president in 1988. In his work with Kellogg, he has traveled to every continent for global corporate relations, and has had the opportunity to meet such figures as Nelson Mandela.

Apart from his family's support, he considers Southern University to have been the most important influence in his life, especially its close-knit environment and high expectations for its students. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of science from Southern in 1991 and he serves on the Southern University System Foundation board, as well as the National Agriculture Research, Extension, Education and Economics Advisory Board. Dr. Stewart also was twice appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to the Agriculture Extension Users Advisory Board.