Salman Khan to Speak at Austin College

By: Press Release
By: Press Release

SHERMAN, TEXAS—Educator and entrepreneur Salman Khan, founder and executive director of Khan Academy, will speak at Austin College on Thursday, March 21, at 11 a.m. in Wynne Chapel. Khan is the 2013 Austin College Posey Leadership Award winner. The doors open at 10:30 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The Austin College Posey Leadership Award was created to promote and recognize service and leadership in a global context. In recognition of Khan’s vision and work in creating global access to education, the Austin College Board of Trustees will honor Salman Khan with the award at a special sold-out presentation at the Global Outreach GO! Forum in Dallas Thursday evening at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

In 2004, Khan began tutoring his cousin in mathematics over the Internet, and two years later, began to distribute the tutorials on YouTube. Their popularity and the testimonials of appreciative students prompted Khan to quit his job as a hedge fund manager in late 2009 to focus on developing his YouTube channel, Khan Academy. Today, Khan Academy offers more than 3,400 videos covering K-12 math, science, computer science, economics, art history, history, and American civics. Each lesson is approximately 10 minutes long and especially designed for computer viewing.

Through this effort, Khan has made basic learning tools available to people around the globe. By providing free teaching and resources, Khan assists both teachers and students in places where access to education has been denied or the most basic prerequisites for education are missing. His concepts also incorporate digital technology in rethinking the basic model of the standard classroom, envisioning online lessons that would open in-class time for interactive learning.

As digital technology plays an increasingly greater role in education, Khan’s work is seen as innovative and even revolutionary. Austin College President Marjorie Hass applauds this opportunity to have a dialogue around Khan’s efforts. “I am interested in what we can learn that will help us build on our campus-based approach to education,” Dr. Hass said. She sees his work as one means of enriching college preparation and creating greater access to learning around the world. “His integration of digital technology and learning can transform the way in which students are prepared to succeed in a college education and may hold lessons for what we can achieve in our own classrooms.”

Khan has been featured on the PBS NewsHour, CNN, NBC Nightly News, and National Public Radio. In 2009, the Khan Academy received the Microsoft Tech Award for education. Khan was tied for number 34 in FORTUNE’s October 2010 “40 Under 40” list recognizing rising stars in business. He was invited to speak at TED by Bill Gates in 2011.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, to immigrant parents from Bangladesh and India, Khan was valedictorian of his high school class and earned a perfect score in the math portion of the SAT. He completed two bachelor’s degrees (mathematics / engineering and computer science) and a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science, all at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School where he was president of his class.

The Austin College Posey Leadership Award was created through the generosity of Sally and the late Lee Posey, founder of Palm Harbor Homes. Previous recipients include Wendy Kopp (2006), founder of Teach For America; Dr. Paul Farmer (2007), Harvard professor, medical anthropologist, physician, and medical activist; Geoffrey Canada (2008), president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone; Greg Mortenson (2009), who shares his quest for peace through education in Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools; Muhammad Yunus (2010), Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and founder of Grameen Bank; Zainab Salbi (2011), founder of Women for Women International; and Mrs. Marian Wright Edelman (2012), founder of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges that Change Lives.


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