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Walden News // May 02, 2012

John Wood, Founder of Room to Read, to Speak at Walden University Academic Residency

Minneapolis—May 2, 2012—John Wood, founder and board co-chair of Room to Read, will speak to more than 650 doctoral students at Walden University’s academic residency on May 12, 2012, at the Hilton Americas-Houston. Combining his passion for social change with the discipline required to run a global company, Wood strives to bring the lessons of the corporate world into the nonprofit sector.

John Wood

John Wood

At age 35, Wood chose to walk away from a successful corporate career to dedicate his life to a social cause. Deeply concerned about the fact that nearly 800 million people are not literate and more than 67 million primary school aged children in the developing world are not enrolled in school, he left an executive career track at Microsoft Corporation to create Room to Read, an award-winning global organization seeking to transform the lives of millions of children in the developing world by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education.

Since its start in 2000, Room to Read has sponsored the opening of more than 1,550 schools and more than 13,000 multilingual libraries across the developing world. The organization has distributed more than 11 million children’s books in 27 languages and supports nearly 15,400 girls’ education scholarships. Wood plans to increase this literacy network to reach at least 10 million children by 2015.

In his 2006 award-winning memoir, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, he shares the incredible story of how he raised more than $150 million in financial commitments from a “standing start” to develop one of the fastest-growing nonprofits in history. Wood has been described by Fast Company magazine as “all heart, all business.”

Academic residencies at Walden, an accredited online university, support students’ academic and professional goals by connecting them with faculty mentors and diverse groups of peers to encourage the vibrant exchange of ideas and perspectives. During residencies, students from select doctoral and master’s programs have the opportunity to conceptualize and develop research initiatives that contribute to positive social change.

Walden’s plenary sessions are an integral part of the residency experience and feature speakers from around the world who share their stories and viewpoints with the hope of inspiring debate and lively conversation. These sessions are intended to provide Walden students, faculty, and staff members with the opportunity to hear perspectives on a variety of topics that are meaningful and relevant to their lives as scholars and practitioners.

Visit for an archive of past Walden speakers.

About Walden University
For more than 40 years, Walden University has supported working professionals in achieving their academic goals and making a greater impact in their professions and their communities. Today, more than 48,500 students from all 50 states and more than 140 countries are pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees online at Walden. The university provides students with an engaging educational experience that connects them with expert faculty and peers around the world. Walden is the flagship online university in the Laureate International Universities network—a global network of more than 55 campus-based and online universities in 28 countries.

Walden offers more than 65 degree programs with more than 330 specializations and concentrations. Areas of study include health sciences, counseling, human services, management, psychology, education, public health, nursing, public administration and information technology. For more information, visit Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association,