AOL Founder to Speak at Spring Commencement

Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, chair of the Case Foundation and chair and CEO of Revolution, will give UNC’s spring Commencement address.

Chancellor Holden Thorp ’86 chose Case in consultation with the University’s Commencement Speaker Selection Committee, whose members include students and faculty.

“Steve Case is one of America’s greatest innovators, an enlightened philanthropist and a champion for entrepreneurs,” Thorp said. “For more than three decades, Steve has dedicated himself to building and investing in businesses and organizations that have the power to truly change the world.”

Case is no stranger to UNC, which launched Innovate@Carolina: Important Ideas for a Better World. He spoke to a campus audience and participated with Thorp in the first national forum of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship held at the Kenan-Flagler Business School. Case co-chairs the council.

Case co-founded the company originally called America Online in 1985. Under his leadership, AOL became the world’s largest and most valuable Internet company, and helped drive the worldwide adoption of a medium that has transformed business and society.

In 2005, Case went back to his entrepreneurial roots and founded Revolution, an investment firm that has backed more than two dozen companies, including LivingSocial, Zipcar, AddThis, Everyday Health and FedBid. One of Revolution’s most recent investments, Echo360, offers lecture-capture technology that lets college students access recorded classroom content from any device at any time.

He and his wife, Jean Case, created the Case Foundation in 1997. The foundation seeks to unite the principles of entrepreneurship, innovation and technology to identify, test, prove and scale ideas and models designed to create exponential impact in solving social challenges. The Case Foundation has invested in hundreds of organizations, initiatives and partnerships.

Steve Case was born and raised in Hawaii and retains active ties to his home state but has lived in the Washington D.C., area for more than 25 years. He was a leading voice in shaping government policy regarding the Internet and more recently has been actively involved in a variety of efforts to promote entrepreneurship. He is chair of the Startup America Partnership, a nonprofit aimed at spurring job growth by supporting young businesses and is a member of President Barack Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, where he chairs the efforts related to entrepreneurship.

Commencement is scheduled for May 12 in Kenan Stadium.

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