Co-Founder of Square Speaking at Southeast


mckelvey jamesCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 21, 2014 – Southeast Missouri State University students have the opportunity to meet with Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square Inc., at noon April 30 in Glenn Auditorium of Dempster Hall.

Square, Inc., which he co-founded with Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, is one of McKelvey’s several companies. Square Inc. is a mobile payment processing system that makes it possible to accept credit cards on an iPhone.

McKelvey plans to speak to Southeast students about innovation, entrepreneurship and potential employment opportunities. He is looking for students in any major; aspiring programmers do not need direct programming experience. Interested students may apply for what is essentially a paid apprenticeship with cooperating companies that agree to train individuals, often with the possibility of permanent employment.

The April 30 event at Southeast is open to all students from all academic disciplines. Lunch will be provided, and the event is free for students.

McKelvey’s efforts are part of another company he founded, LaunchCode, which is a volunteer network that connects businesses to potential computer programmers/developers to develop a stronger information technology sector in St. Louis.

“Students should hear Jim McKelvey speak for three reasons: first, to listen to a fascinating story about a successful entrepreneur that has significant amount of influence on the technology business; second, so they can become aware of great opportunities available to them in the field of technology regardless of their major. There is an increased need for bright, young people in the tech field in St. Louis; third, he is a role model and someone who used his opportunities to achieve many great things in life,” says Dr. Gerald McDougall, dean of the Donald L. Harrison College of Business at Southeast.

Students interested in Launch Code need analytical and creative minds, rather than programming experience. McKelvey’s visit is part of his nationwide initiative to connect with students throughout the United States.

“McKelvey is interested in meeting with students of all majors. He wants to meet bright, energetic young people who can think creatively,” says McDougall.

McKelvey, born and raised in St. Louis, graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with dual degrees in economics and computer science. During his freshman year, he wrote and published a replacement for the computer programming textbook used in one of his classes. He later published a second book, which became a bestseller. McKelvey also studied at the London School of Economics in England.

Shortly after graduation, he worked as a visiting scientist in IBM’s Los Angeles Scientific Center and subsequently founded Mira Corporation along with David Mitchell. During his tenure with Mira, McKelvey helped develop one of the first PC document imaging systems, “Look,” in 1991. However, after having had limited success, McKelvey with the assistance of Jack Dorsey shifted the company into conference publishing in which it currently remains. He left daily management at Mira in 2000, but remains its owner and Chairman.

McKelvey and Dorsey launched Square in 2009. McKelvey sits on the board of Square and served as its Chairman until 2010. He also designed the hardware used by Square.

In addition to McKelvey’s work in the technology field, he is an avid glassblower. His first experience with glassblowing came as he was still enrolled at Washington University in St. Louis. McKelvey studied the craft under Lino Talgiapietra and founded Third Degree Glass shortly after meeting Doug Auer. In 2006, he wrote and published one of the first instructional textbooks for glassblowing.