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Wikipedia cofounder Larry Sanger ’91 to speak at Reed commencement


Portland, OR (April 16, 2010)—Reed College has announced that Larry Sanger, a 1991 alumnus and cofounder of Wikipedia, will present the commencement address to the Class of 2010. Commencement will take place on the front lawn of the college on May 17. Sanger graduated from Reed with a bachelor's degree in philosophy. He went on to Ohio State University where he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1995 and 2000, respectively.

Sanger began changing the way people share and find information while working on Nupedia, a free online encyclopedia to which the public was invited to contribute. Sanger was editor-in-chief of Nupedia until 2002. While there, Sanger cofounded Wikipedia, which has become the largest encyclopedia in the world.

In addition to his work with Nupedia and Wikipedia, Sanger taught philosophy at the university level and was Director of Collaborative Projects for the Digital Universe Foundation from 2005 to 2006.

In March 2007, Sanger launched Citizendium, another free online encyclopedia project. Sanger believes that by adding expert oversight to submitted content, the new model will prove a more reliable resource for information than Wikipedia. Citizendium currently hosts 121 expert-approved articles with claims of quality and accuracy that rival the best printed encyclopedias. As of April 8, the site had received 13,447 articles that are now progressing toward editorial approval. The project is funded by private donations.

Sanger has written and lectured extensively on the role of knowledge in society and the problem of quality control in user-generated content websites, such as Wikipedia and Youtube.

Sanger is also executive director of WatchKnow.org, a non-profit educational video service. The site references more than 15,000 videos hosted elsewhere on the Web and categorizes them by subject matter, education level, and field of study. WatchKnow.org is free to use and intended as a resource for students, parents, teachers, librarians, and everyone interested in the education of children.

When Sanger is not changing the way we share knowledge, he likes to play the Irish traditional fiddle and read to his little boy.