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President’s Lecture Series to Feature Entrepreneur Adam Braun

By Noell Saunders

Adam Braun, author, philanthropist and entrepreneur, will speak at Old Dominion University Feb. 21 as part of the President's Lecture Series.

At the lecture, Braun will be awarded the Marc and Connie Jacobson Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian award.

Braun, a Brown University graduate, is the founder of Pencils of Promise, an award-winning non-profit organization that builds schools and increases access to education for children in developing countries. Pencils of Promise has broken ground on more than 300 schools around the world. As one of the nation's leading speakers on leadership and innovation, Braun has been featured at the White House, the United Nations, the Clinton Global initiative and Fortune 500 companies.

He began working summers at hedge funds when he was just 16 years old, sprinting down the path to a successful Wall Street career. But while traveling abroad he met a young boy begging on the streets of India. When Braun asked him what he wanted most in the world, he simply answered, "a pencil."

This small request became the inspiration for Pencils of Promise, the organization Braun would leave global management consulting firm Bain & Company several years later to launch. Using his unique "for-purpose" approach, Braun meshed for-profit business acumen with non-profit idealism, proving that anyone can build a movement that matters.

He has over 500,000 followers and is one of America's most engaging entrepreneurs. In 2015, Braun received the nation's most prestigious award for public service, the Jefferson Award. Braun also joined a coalition to address global changes with Kofi Annan, Desmond Tutu and several Nobel Peace Prize recipients.

By the age of 31, he was named to Business Insider's "40 under 40" and Wired Magazine's "50 People Who Are Changing the World." Braun was also selected as one of the World Economic Forum's first ten Global Shapers.

His book "The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change" debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list and went on to become a No. 1 national bestseller. The University Village Bookstore will be selling the book at the end of the event. In the words of Sir Richard Branson, "For anyone with a big dream to change the world, this book will show you how to get it done."

The event begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Big Blue Room of the Ted Constant Convocation Center. All President's Lecture Series events are free and open to the public, but advance registration is strongly encouraged through the Office of Community Engagement, or by calling 757-683-5759.

The annual Wallenberg Lecture is sponsored by the Marc and Connie Jacobson Philanthropic Foundation. Speakers for the Wallenberg Lecture are chosen by the University. They must be humanitarians - those who are "making the world a better place" - balanced in their philosophical beliefs and not at either extreme of the social spectrum.

Old Dominion University's President's Lecture Series serves as a marketplace for ideas, featuring fascinating personalities who share their knowledge, experience, opinions and accomplishments. Discussing timely topics, the series puts diversity first, showcasing authors, educators, business innovators and political figures.

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