April 16, 2010
Contact: University Relations
Bob Parsons, B.S. '75, D.H.L. '08, founder and CEO of GoDaddy.com, will be named the 2010 University of Baltimore Distinguished Entrepreneur on Thursday, April 22 during the Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center's presentation of the 2010 Distinguished Entrepreneur Awards in the UB Student Center, 21 W. Mt. Royal Ave. The institution's highest recognition of the power of the entrepreneurial spirit, the Distinguished Entrepreneur Award this year honors a singular figure in the fast-growing world of e-commerce and Internet service products. Parsons' company is the world leader in domain names, Web hosting and online security.
"It's an absolute honor to be recognized as the 2010 Distinguished Entrepreneur," Parsons said. "I hope it's an inspiration for others, too, people who have a dream to make it in business. They should never give up because if I can make it, anybody can—in my mind, one of the smartest things I ever did was enroll in the University of Baltimore."
Parsons, a Baltimore native, is a legendary figure among his fellow entrepreneurs, in part because of the way he decided his future. Parsons failed in the fifth grade and credits his joining the U.S. Marine Corps for his later graduation from high school. He was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and a Purple Heart Medal for his service in Vietnam. Thereafter, he 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 course catalog. A focused and motivated college student, Parsons graduated magna cum laude.
Parsons, a classic "early adopter" of new technology, 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. Parsons is the company's sole investor. GoDaddy.com develops most of its 54 Web-related products in-house, and has offices in North America and Europe. It is scheduled to open facilities in Asia later this year. GoDaddy.com is an innovative, game-changing performer that has empowered millions of users to start their own Web sites, e-businesses and Web-based innovations.
GoDaddy.com has also generated a huge amount of attention through its television advertising, including edgy Super Bowl commercials during each of the last six years. One of the ads is now featured in college marketing textbooks.
Parsons also is known for his generosity, both with his 2,600-plus employees and with charities worldwide. Last year, GoDaddy.com donated nearly $3 million to charitable causes.
Parsons was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of Baltimore in 2008 and continues to break new ground on the Internet with his highly touted video blog, www.BobParsons.me, which he uses to help aspiring entrepreneurs.
This year's University of Baltimore Distinguished Entrepreneur ceremony begins with a 6 p.m. gala reception in the Student Center, and is followed by the presentation of the School's 2010 awards in the center's Performing Arts Theater. The event is capped by the presentation of the University of Baltimore Distinguished Entrepreneur, recognizing the outstanding achievements of a graduate of the University of Baltimore who has started or grown a local business, and whose entrepreneurial activity and altruistic behavior are widely admired in the metropolitan business community. This top award has been presented in previous years to some of the city's greatest business successes. (Attendance details are listed below.)
Justin P. Jones-Fosu, M.B.A. '10, president of Justin Inspires, will serve as master of ceremonies.
This year's other award recipients are:
The Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center, part of the Merrick School of Business at UB, is a growing campus-based venture designed to support local entrepreneurs as they continue to move into the economic mainstream of the city, the region and beyond.
Now in its fifth year, the center provides much-needed programs that support individuals and groups as they build, launch and grow innovative ventures, relying on in-house staff and faculty expertise and a large and growing contingent of external consultants, successful UB alumni entrepreneurs, and volunteers from the business community.
The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the School of Law, the Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts and the Merrick School of Business.