LOS ANGELES, June 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Curtis Pickering brings decades of high-level business expertise and a natural penchant for outside-the-box thinking to his role as founder, Chairman and CEO of World Education University (WEU), the world's first online, tuition-free, degree granting institution of higher learning. Main areas of study include Business, Computer Science/Information Technology, Health Sciences, General Education, and Hospitality, Tourism & Retail. Forward-thinking social entrepreneurship is another central tenet of Pickering's vision. He leads WEU—pronounced "We-You"—with the mantra "Education Should Be Free." Every student that registers must sign WEU's "Pay It Forward Pledge," agreeing to give back to their communities.
"We're a for-profit company with a non-profit mission," says Pickering. "By offering free education on-demand through innovative technologies, WEU enables learners worldwide to better themselves and their socio-economic conditions. At the same time, we inspire them with the social justice mission of being responsible humanitarians. We also invite the companies, brands, and advertisers with whom we partner to embrace that purpose. What we hope for is a multitude of people actively engaged, and doing good things. That's a game changer."
Pickering's maverick, entrepreneurial approach to academia grew organically out of his own experience. Born in Palo Alto, he relocated to rural Oregon at age 12. The move from Silicon Valley to an isolated logging community—where resources and opportunities were slim—was a shock. Determined to get out, Pickering landed an athletic scholarship to Lewis & Clark College. Even with tuition covered, he still had to work to cover expenses, and he began buying and selling real estate after seeing a television ad about doing so with no money down. "I qualified," he recalls with a smile, "I had no money."
What he did have was a flair for real estate. Pickering left school and went on to great success in large asset development and enhancement, both in real estate property development and restructuring of companies. During a hiatus, Pickering traveled the world. Global adventuring proved to be both a passion and a turning point. "In the course of traveling, I realized what true poverty is," he says. "That was a real eye-opener, I'd never seen that before."
It inspired Pickering to develop WEU's defining corporate cultural conviction—that education is a human right, and that it should be free. If he couldn't close the financial gaps in his own education despite a full scholarship, how could millions of underserved potential students worldwide even consider college? They needed access to a completely new kind of educational ecosystem.
Pickering's 2010 acquisition of DCSI Media, a digital advertising company (which he subsequently sold), sparked an idea for how to launch WEU and level the educational playing field globally. "I believed there was a way to use digital advertising as a means to pay for education," he says. "I did some modeling. What kind of rates, how many students—what would make it work? The process literally started at Starbucks, making notes on a napkin, meeting with friends and associates. The resounding affirmation, proved out by a business plan, was that the advertising revenue model worked, and we could create an infinitely scalable infrastructure to empower students with knowledge and skills leading to real opportunities for a better life."
The education crisis is one of the most culture-threatening our society has ever faced. The number of world consumers that are lacking, needing, and demanding education content is vast, yet these demands are not being met by existing education options. A scalable, sustainable solution is called for. That solution is World Education University, which provides online, self-paced, competency based education to citizens worldwide for FREE. WEU brings education, training and incentives to inspire a new generation of humanitarians around the world, reinvigorating communities and empowering people.
For more information or to register for free: http://www.theWEU.com/
SOURCE World Education University