Fellow Benefactor John Sperling dies

John Sperling

John Sperling (1921 – 2014)

Fellow Benefactor and businessman Dr John Sperling has died at a hospital near San Francisco. He was 93.

Dr Sperling founded the Apollo Group in 1973, a company that aimed to give working adults a chance to study in further education. The company's first institution was the University of Phoenix (founded in 1976), which now has more than 200 campuses worldwide.

He himself struggled to gain an education. He was born into a poor sharecropper family in Missouri in 1921 and only learned to read when he joined the Merchant Marine. He developed a passion for literature and history, and read English History at Reed College, Oregon, in his mid-twenties. He then took an MA at the University of California, Berkeley.

He was at King's from 1953-1955 as a PhD student studying 18th-century English mercantile history.

Sperling became a billionaire and dedicated much of his time to philanthropic projects. He was a long-standing benefactor of King's College.

26 August 2014