of the Year 2012
moved by deep commitment to education
Winner - Media
content from Denver Business Journal by Lisa Wirthman, Special to the Business
Journal Date: Friday,
June 29, 2012, 4:00am MDT
Kathleen Lavine |
Denver Business Journal
executive chairman, CEO and president of Jones International Ltd., created the
online university in 1993.
The idea for the
world’s first online university began at the Vietnam Memorial.
Glenn Jones, a Korean War veteran, paid his first visit to
the wall on a sunny fall day. Overwhelmed by the experience, he sat down on a
park bench to collect himself. As he got up to leave, a falling sycamore leaf
hit him in the forehead. Moved, Jones sat down again, twirled the leaf and
stared at the wall.
Jones had been
reading about inequalities in education. He decided then that those who had the
resources needed to commit themselves to education with the same sense of
commitment as the troops whose names were on the wall.
“I thought maybe
there would be a few less wars, more freedom, more justice and more hope, and
that we wouldn’t have so many war memorials,” said Jones, executive chairman of
the board, CEO and president of Jones International Ltd.
Already a cable
pioneer, Jones returned to Denver and launched his cable television-based Mind
Extension University in 1987, which broadcast advanced placement courses across
America for free.
evolved, and that inspired Jones to create the first online-only university, Jones
International University (JIU), in 1993. JIU also became the first
online-only university to receive regional accreditation in 1999, the same year
Jones sold his Jones Intercable to Comcast Corp.
To further online
education, Jones also created a technology platform that others could use to
create applications. He also created the Jones e-global library, a virtual
online library used by universities, businesses and individuals.
entrepreneur “was in my DNA,” Jones said. “I felt an obligation to do something
for America, and business was exciting to me. I looked at business as an art
form, because you could be really creative if you had your own company.”
In his ventures
in cable television, radio and the Internet, Jones thrived on combining
technology in different ways to address evolving needs and opportunities — a
concept he called “free market fusion” in a book he wrote of the same name.
Jones’ book defines
free market fusion as a convergence of entrepreneurs and nonprofit
organizations to identify and create new enterprises and innovative business
related,” Jones said. “It’s like a tapestry, and you just weave what you think
the future’s going to look like.”
Jones decided to
focus his efforts on fusing learning and technology because “civilization
floats on education,” he said. Next on Jones’ list is an effort to start
curating knowledge on the Internet.
Jones plans to
move into the K-12 education market this month by launching a college-ready
online global library for high school students. “Right now I’m interested in
that transition from high school to college because people aren’t ready for
college when they get there,” he said.
In his long
career, Jones is most proud of “getting a university off the ground,” he said.
“I think we’re complying with our commitment to the Vietnam Memorial in a
significant way, so that I can go back there and feel OK.”
Title: Executive chairman of the board, CEO and president
Company: Jones International Ltd.
Industry: Online education