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Jay Walker named 2009 Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year


Jay Walker '77, chairman of Walker Digital and founder of, has been named the 2009 Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year. He will be honored on campus during the Entrepreneurship@Cornell Celebration April 16-17.

Walker has founded a number of successful startup companies, including Walker Digital in 1994. A privately held research and development lab based in Stamford, Conn., Walker Digital has invented hundreds of solutions for businesses in 15 industries.

Walker is best known as founder of, the billion-dollar travel company. He also co-founded Synapse, a company that used the credit card processing network to revolutionize the magazine subscription business. For his work as Synapse's marketing leader, Walker won the Direct Marketer of the Year award in 1999.

Currently, Walker leads a team that launched the world's leading Web site for English-language learning,

A prolific inventor, Walker is named on more than 800 issued and pending U.S. and international patents.

Walker has twice been named by the editors of Time magazine one of the "50 most influential business leaders in the digital age." Business Week selected him as one of the 25 Internet pioneers most responsible for "changing the competitive landscape of almost every industry in the world." Newsweek cited him as one of three executives at the forefront of the Internet commerce revolution.

Walker graduated from Cornell in 1977 with a B.S. degree in industrial and labor relations. He serves on the board of World Information Transfer, a United Nations nongovernmental organization, is a frequent speaker on college campuses and appears often on TV and radio shows.

As the Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year, Walker will give a public address on campus April 16 at 4:30 p.m. at a location to be announced.

Since 1984 the Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year award has been presented annually to Cornell graduates who exemplify entrepreneurial achievement, community service and high ethical standards. Recipients include Sandy Weill '55, former chairman of Citigroup; Howard Milstein '73, co-chairman, president and chief executive officer of Emigrant Savings Bank; Kevin McGovern '70, chairman and CEO of McGovern Capital LLC; and Robert Toll '63, chairman and chief executive officer of Toll Brothers Inc. A committee of Cornell alumni, faculty and students select recipients.

For more information visit the Entrepreneurship@Cornell Web site.

Kathy Hovis is a writer/editor for Entrepreneurship@Cornell.


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