TONIGHT: Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales to deliver 2021 Baird Lecture

The Baird Lecture is just one of the many cultural events planned by Elon for students, faculty, staff and the community this spring. Full details are available on the university’s Spring Cultural Calendar.

Wikipedia founder and entrepreneur Jimmy Wales will deliver the 2021 Baird Lecture on Thursday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m. His virtual presentation will be streamed at

Jimmy Wales will deliver the 2021 Baird Lecture on Thursday, April 8.

A leading technology futurist, Wales helped build Wikipedia to become the fifth-most popular website worldwide. Named one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People,” Wales has been recognized by the World Economic Forum as one of the top 250 leaders around the world for his professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to share the future.

Wales founded Nupedia in 2000, a “free encyclopedia” characterized by an extensive peer-review process designed to produce high-quality articles comparable to professional encyclopedias. The addition of “wikis” – a collection of web pages that enable anyone to contribute or modify content — transformed the site into Wikipedia, with Wales providing the founding principles and content, and establishing an Internet-based community of contributors. As of Feb. 15, 2021, the English Wikipedia includes more than 6.2 million articles containing 3.78 billion words, with more than 650 articles added each day.

Wales has been a fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and serves on the boards of the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization Creative Commons and on the advisory board of the Sunlight Foundation, which advocates for open government.

Wales’s address will be part of Elon’s Baird Lecture Series, which was endowed in 2001 by a gift from James H. Baird and his late wife, Jane M. Baird, of Burlington, N.C.

The Baird Lecture is among the broad offerings of academic and special programs presented by Elon as part of its Spring Cultural Calendar series of events. A selection of featured events from February and March is included below. Find the full lineup of Spring 2021 Cultural Events here.