Jim McKelvey on Ladue Schools

"Ladue taught me how to learn," says Jim McKelvey, LHWHS class of 1983 and an inventor, serial entrepreneur, pilot, artist and author.  "It was at Ladue that I got the skills to acquire the knowledge I needed."

While best known for co-founding the mobile payments company Square, Jim is also a master glass artist and author, having written the world’s most widely read text on the subject, The Art Of Fire. He is the founder of Third Degree Glass Factory, one of the nation’s main centers of glass blowing arts, and several other companies. His designs have been featured in both the Smithsonian and the Museum of Modern Art.

Jim's combination of entrepreneurship and creativity makes him an ideal fit for the Ladue Education Foundation's spring fundraiser on April 28, "Innovation Celebration." In a conversation with Ladue Horton Watkins High School teacher Hannah Behr, Jim will discuss his experience at Ladue Schools and the work he is doing to help bring innovation to St. Louis.

"Twelve years in the district, and it was--and still is--the formative part of my education," says Jim. "I was so far ahead of the average Wash U student entering, I was tutoring subjects that I learned in high school to my fellow college classmates." Jim is a 1987 graduate of Washington University with degrees in Economics and Computer Science and is a recipient of the school's Alumni Achievement Award.

In 2013, Jim founded the nonprofit LaunchCode Foundation to address the worldwide shortage of programmers. Last year, President Obama held LaunchCode up as a model for the nation.

Jim McKelvey holds the belief that nothing is impossible and that problems are beautiful things. He tackles the world’s biggest challenges with breakthrough ideas, all driven by his personal motto: “If not you, then who; if not now, then when.”

For tickets to Innovation Celebration and a chance to hear Jim McKelvey, see this link.