University of Delaware
Jim Ziolkowski, founder, president and CEO of buildOn

March 11: Making a difference

Jim Ziolkowski, founder of a nonprofit that builds schools, to speak in Mitchell Hall


12:59 p.m., March 4, 2014--Jim Ziolkowski, best-selling author and founder of buildOn, a nonprofit that builds schools in developing countries, will speak at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 11, in Mitchell Hall.

The free public talk is sponsored by the University's Honors Program, the Department of Women and Gender Studies, the Office of Service Learning and the Department of Political Science and International Relations. In addition, the buildOn Chapter at the University of Delaware, a registered student organization, was instrumental in bringing Ziolkowski to campus. 

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The March 11 program will conclude with questions from the audience, and Ziolkowski will sign copies of his recent book Walk in Their Shoes: Can One Person Change the World

Ziolkowski is the founder, president and CEO of buildOn, a nonprofit organization that builds schools in developing countries while also running afterschool service programs in America's toughest inner cities. His best-selling book, Walk in Their Shoes, chronicles his personal transformation from a 20-something thrill-seeker to an idealist dedicated to social change. 

He says his goal is to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. 

About Jim Ziolkowski 

After graduating from college in 1989, Ziolkowski set out to hitchhike and backpack around the world. During a 27-day hike in the Himalayas, he came upon a village in Nepal that was in the midst of a two-day celebration for the opening of a school. After having witnessed the suffering caused by extreme poverty, he was impressed by the hope he saw in the community, revolving around education. 

Returning to the United States, he began a job in corporate finance at GE, but he could not shake his memories of poverty abroad and in the U.S., so he quit GE to start buildOn. 

Today, 94 percent of high school seniors in buildOn's afterschool programs graduate and go on to college. The organization's global school construction project has resulted in the construction of 567 schools and the education of more than 85,000 students globally. 

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