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Founder of The Motley Fool, a multimedia financial-services company

Class of 1988

“Without my English undergrad degree at North Carolina, my company The Motley Fool would’ve been named something less Foolish! Shakespeare from Professor Darryl Gless and poetry and writing from teaching greats like Robert Kirkpatrick and Daphne Athas filled my days. They led me toward a love of literature, the liberal arts, unconventional wisdom, humor, a certain sophomore in my creative writing class who’s my wife now of 27 years—oh, and yes, Fools. So Touchstone and Will Somers et al. were fresh in my mind when after graduation I began flipping through a book of quotations one night, trying to figure out a good name for the stock-picking newsletter I was starting. Then the Web came along, taking The Motley Fool to and beyond. Thank you, English at Carolina.”