When I filed for divorce, I found out he had been in prison for an entirely different reason than he had told me. A reason that if I had known the truth, he wouldn't had gotten within a hundred miles of me.
Please be very careful. Because of the above, I am also very skeptcal that your friend spent that long in prison for car theft. There had to be other circumstances involved. Criminals are aslo know to be very chrismatic.
I requested to see his arrest record and the court documents, which he immediately provided for my review. Multiple accounts of vehicle theft and burglary, never any violence, drugs, or other law violations.
I think you need to be prepared as well, as hard and perhaps hurtful as it may be, that even if your friends and family do come around to accepting and even liking him, many will have trust issues with him being in their homes, and if you should ever marry him, legally attached to family money.
They might be ok with seeing you two on neutral or your turf, but be uncomfortable with him in their homes. Anyone who has ever been burglarized (home or vehicle) can surely attest to the deep sense of violation that felt as a result. Even more then loosing the stuff, its the sense of having one's space violated and disrespected, and the huge hassle they then have to go through. Its not like you just call and have a quick chat with a super friendly cops, its a long annoying frustrating process with overworked and often none to cheerful cops, paperwork, insurance hoops to jump through, delays, misinformation, etc. (One thing many people misunderstand about car theft is, often if the car is recovered, there is no insurance - even if the car has been damaged, is abandoned far away, etc - nothing. The car was found - the owners have to arrange to get to it even if its 100 miles away, they are responsible for repairs, etc. Sometimes a car is found significantly later - and the owner has to then repay the insurance company, etc. In many car theft situations the worst thing that can happen is if the car is found.)
No matter how much of a turn around your BF might have made, just knowing he probably put someone through all that, many people might not ever truly trust him. If you marry him, your parents might insist on a pre-nump and separate bank accounts or else not ever help you financially or be as generous as they might have otherwise been. People might be uncomfortable having him over for parties where he could wander off unnoticed into another room.
I'm not bringing this up to discourage you. In fact I personally do believe once a sentence is paid, its paid and the person's debt to society has been fulfilled. But these are simply points for you to bear in mind, so when you are dealing with negativity towards him, you can understand better. Because the better you understand their stances, the better you are to deal with them politely and effectively.
In fact as a marketing student, this whole situation is great personal project - how can you "market" your relationship
as a positive thing? Its excellent practice for future products you might have to up-sell despite having a few not so great qualities to them.