Congratulations have to go out this week to a couple classmates of mine at the University of Illinois. Former U of I students Jawed Karim and Steve Chen are two of the three co-founders (along with Chad Hurley) of YouTube. As I have mentioned previously, YouTube is a free web-based video sharing site.
Founded in February 2005, this week it was purchased by Google. For $1.65 billion. Yeah, that's a lot. So it seems that my former classmates are now amongst the wealthiest people in the world my age. Wow.
As it turns out, Jawed, who attended high school in Minnesota, lived across the hall in the dorms from another one of my former classmates, who is now one of my co-workers, at Allan Hall. He and Steve, who graduated from high school in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, both initially didn't finish school as they went to work with Illinois alum Max Levchin at the company he co-founded, Paypal. During that time, Jawed continued coursework and got his B.S. and so he's a fellow U of I alum. He currently is a grad student at Stanford and of course now has a little more cash.
What this points to of course is the quality of students Illinois is attracting, especially in engineering. When you look at the list of accomplished alumni, it truly is amazing. The University of Illinois continues to prove itself as one of the premier universities in the country. Just in the last 15 years alone, graduates have included the founders of Netscape, Paypal, and YouTube. Other famous companies formed by Illinois alums include Oracle, AMD, Lotus, W.W. Grainger, and BET. Jerry Colangelo, Roger Ebert, and Jack Welch are all alums.
Its history seems to suggest it is as likely as any place in the country to produce future millionaires. I probably won't be one of them, however.