John G. Sperling
John G. Sperling was an educational pioneer, an intellectual, political activist and entrepreneur. In all of these endeavors, he stood up to improve the condition of others and to fight against discrimination of all stripes.
Raised in a log cabin in the Missouri Ozarks by a family of sharecroppers, his own education was limited by poverty, childhood illness, and an untended learning disability, making it difficult for him to read. He escaped from this harsh upbringing by entering into the Merchant Marines where he learned to read during his many hours on board ship. When World War II broke out, he became an airman, which later qualified him for Veteran’s education benefits. This turning point led him onto the path of higher education (securing advanced degrees in history and economic history) and then ultimately to accomplishment, wealth, and pre-eminence, but he never forgot his impoverished roots.