Aug. 8, 1966
Jimmy Donal Wales was born in Huntsville to Jimmy Wales, a grocer, and Doris Ann Dudley Wales, an educator who co-owned the Montessori-based House of Learning Elementary School with her mother. He credits early exposure to encyclopedias at the school with his becoming an entrepreneur later in life. After the 16-year-old Wales graduated from Auburn University, he earned a master’s degree from the University of Alabama in 1988. He enrolled and taught at Indiana University but after tiring of working on a doctorate, he became a futures and options trader. In 2001, he began Nupedia, a free online encyclopedia. On Jan. 15, 2001, Wales launched a side project, Wikipedia, and a year later founded the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation to oversee operations and finances and set policies.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.