Computer software billionaire Michael Saylor
is donating $100 million to start an online university he says will
offer a free "Ivy League" education to anyone.
"Done right, this will impact the lives of millions of people
forever," Saylor told The Washington Post in an interview. "Done
wrong, it's just noise in a can."
Saylor, 35, is chief executive of Microstrategy, a software
company based in suburban Vienna, Va. His 44 million shares of the
company are worth $13 billion on paper as of Tuesday, the Post
reported in today's editions.
Saylor has no staff, specific curriculum or estimate of the
ultimate cost of his project, the Post said.
But he said he envisions online courses that would include
lectures from the world's "geniuses and leaders" who would be
videotaped at a studio to be built somewhere in the Washington
The Post said Saylor planned to announce his plan today at the
Greater Washington Business Philanthropy Summit, which was started
three years ago to encourage philanthropy in the region.
He characterized his $100 million donation to his personal
foundation as a down payment toward creating what would become a
"I'll contribute more over time until it's done," Saylor was
quoted as saying. "Other philanthropists might want to come on
board. If not, I'll do it myself."
A variety of degrees already are available from Internet sites,
but Saylor's would be the first offered free, the Post said.