The last time “06880” checked in with Charles Adler, the 1992 Staples High School grad was a co-founder of Kickstarter.
Since 2009, 6.4 million users have used the online platform to pledge over $2 billion, funding more than 75,000 creative projects in areas ranging from film, music and stage to comics, journalism, video games, technology and food.
Adler left Kickstarter in 2013. Five years later — still in his early 40s — he’s the recipient of an honorary degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Even more impressive is that this is his only college degree.
That’s right: Adler is a college dropout.
He left Purdue University — where he was studying mechanical engineering — to co-found Subsystence (an online music, photography, art, poetry and fiction site), and the design and technology studio Source ID.
Then came Kickstarter — and Forbes’ designation of Adler as one of the 12 Most Disruptive Figures in Business.
Since 2013, Adler created and developed Lost Arts, an interdisciplinary laboratory, workshop, atelier, incubator, school and playground occupying 25,000 square feet on Chicago’s Goose Island.
Now comes the honorary degree from IIT — a doctorate, no less — in recognition of Adler’s “outstanding contributions to the field of design.”
Growing up in Westport more than 25 years ago, Adler recalls, he was interested in architecture — and passionate about electronic music, punk rock, skateboarding and cycling.
College was not right for him. He tried a second time — because he needed an undergrad degree before entering a graduate design program that interested him — but again he dropped out.
So, parents of Westport students who may not be taking a traditional path during or after Staples: Don’t worry.
Your kid too might one day earn an honorary degree, even if he or she lacks a college diploma.
They just might need a kick start.