Bob Parsons, founder and executive chairman of Go Daddy, has made a $1 million donation to the University of Baltimore to establish a new professorship specializing in digital communication — a burgeoning field that brings together computer science, graphic design, entrepreneurship and related skills.
In addition to the professorship, Parsons, a member of the Class of 1975 who grew up in Highlandtown, will give lectures, either on campus or in a virtual environment, to share his expertise on digital life, online marketing and entrepreneurship. Parsons is credited with providing leadership for Go Daddy’s marketing strategies, including its well- known Super Bowl ad campaigns that helped put Go Daddy in its leading position with Web hosting and domain names. The first lecture is set to occur at UB in the fall.
(Parsons continues to break new ground on the Internet with his highly-touted video blog, www.BobParsons.me, above, which has become popular with entrepreneurs. His one-of-a-kind personality — and his authentic Baltimore accent — really come through!)
”The Internet is the ‘heart of the new economy,’” Parsons said. “The idea behind our digital communication course is to provide real life lessons…to give students the benefit of what I’ve learned in business over the years. There is so much potential for entrepreneurs online right now. As far as my upcoming lecture, it’s safe to think it will be unlike any lecture these students have heard in a classroom,” Parsons laughed.
“The Bob “Go Daddy” Parsons Professorship of Digital Communication, Commerce and Culture will be an integral part of UB’s focus on preparing students for success in the digital age,” said UB President Robert L. Bogomolny. “I especially appreciate Bob’s willingness to share his considerable knowledge with our students. There’s no doubt he’ll be a great lecturer.”
The educator named to the professorship also will serve as director of UB’s Center for Digital Communication, Commerce and Culture, a hub for student and faculty activities in digital design, communication, research, culture and entrepreneurship.
Parsons is a legendary figure among his fellow entrepreneurs, in part because of the way he decided his future. After serving in Vietnam in the U.S. Marine Corps — where he was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and a Purple Heart — Parsons decided to attend the University of Baltimore, realizing the local Bethlehem Steel mill was not the life he wanted. He chose his major, accounting, because it was the first program that showed up in the University’s course catalog and because he was good at math. He graduated magna cum laude.
A classic “early adopter” of new technology, Parsons taught himself computer programming in the late 1970s while working on the accounting component of a leasing company. He began using computers in his accounting business, and then started his own software business, Parsons Technology, in his basement. He later sold the company to Intuit. In 1997, he created the company now known as GoDaddy.com. The company is an innovative, game-changing performer that has empowered millions of users to start their own websites, e-businesses and Web-based innovations. In 2011, Parsons sold a portion of the company and now serves as Go Daddy’s Executive Chairman. (We at BFB use Go Daddy!)
Parsons also is known for his generosity, both with his 3,300 employees and with charities worldwide. Go Daddy has donated millions to charitable causes. Bob and his wife Renee recently founded their own charity organization, The Parsons Foundation.
Parsons was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of Baltimore in 2008 and also received the 2010 University of Baltimore Distinguished Entrepreneur Award.
The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the School of Law, the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Public Affairs and the Merrick School of Business.
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