Campus News

Cornerstone Commentary to Feature Former Sega of America CEO

Man working on computer.
Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 1, 2021) — The University of Kentucky — along with its partner Gen.G — will continue its monthly esports speaker series, Cornerstone Commentary, with guest speaker Tom Kalinske, former CEO of Sega of America Inc. Kalinske will discuss his time with Mattel, the history of Sega vs. Nintendo and his work after the console wars of the 1990s.

From 1972 to 1987, Tom Kalinske worked with Mattel reviving the Barbie and Hot Wheels Brands and launching Masters of the Universe. In 1990, Kalinske became the CEO of Sega of America Inc. His aggressive marketing decisions during his time at Sega, such as price drops, anti-Nintendo attack ads and the famous “Sega Scream” TV campaign, are often cited as key elements in the success of the Genesis video game console. 

After his time with Sega, Kalinske served as the CEO and chairman of the largest educational toy company in the world, Leapfrog. Currently, Kalinske is the executive chairman of Global Education Learning, a company dedicated to children’s education in China.

"We are very hopeful that the monthly Cornerstone Commentary series will provide students with an opportunity to learn from leaders in the esports and video game space, including hearing from top business executives, creators and innovators, entrepreneurs and educators," Heath Price said, associate chief information officer for ITS. "As the campus dialog builds, we are hopeful that events like this will serve to build deeper relationships across Kentucky’s passionate esports community — including gamers of all ages, area faculty and educators, local businesses and even players that are pursuing professional gaming opportunities."

Part of a larger nationally recognized Smart Campus digital strategy, the esports initiative focuses on the institution’s goal of becoming a global leader in connecting esports and higher education and leveraging technology to maximize student success and build community.

Cornerstone Commentary is streamed on the university’s Twitch channel the first Thursday of the month at 10 a.m. (ET). 

“We believe that viewers will gain a broad range of perspectives as they tune in to the Cornerstone Commentary each month,” Price said. “Utilizing the Twitch streaming platform, these events also provide an opportunity for viewers to provide feedback and suggestions on topics that they would like to see covered within the monthly series.”

To learn more about the esports initiative at the university, go to: For more information on Smart Campus, visit

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