"I went to Georgetown University for a year. It was on scholarship, and I had everything paid for, but I still couldn't afford to go there. I was by far the poorest kid at Georgetown."
Given his economic disadvantages, James Kimsey might have seen his opportunities in life as limited. Instead, he sought opportunity and found it. First in the U.S. Army, where he served two tours of duty in Vietnam and built an orphanage in a remote and hostile area.
On his return from Vietnam he entered the business world, where he achieved success in a variety of ventures before founding the company that brought the Internet into the American home: America Online. In a few short years, America Online (AOL) became the leading independent provider of interactive online services to consumers.
In 1997, James Kimsey stepped down as CEO of AOL to devote himself to philanthropic activities. As founder and Chairman of the AOL Foundation he campagined to improve educational opportunities for disadvantaged children in his home town of Washington. James Kimsey became a wealthy man by providing interactive information services to the American family. He spent the rest of his life working to repay society by bringing educational opportunity to young people who began life with the same disadvantages he had.