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Correction: Obit-Sperling story

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 26, 2014 at 12:44 pm •  Published: August 26, 2014
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PHOENIX (AP) — In a story Aug. 25 about death of University of Phoenix founder John Sperling, The Associated Press reported erroneously the day that Sperling. He died Friday, not Sunday.

A corrected version of the story is below:

John Sperling, University of Phoenix founder, dies

John Sperling, founder of for-profit University of Phoenix, dies at 93 near San Francisco

By BOB SEAVEY and ASTRID GALVAN

Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) — John G. Sperling was in his teens — illiterate and the survivor of a childhood filled with illness — when a shipmate in the Merchant Marine taught him to read.

Enchanted by the likes of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sperling began a journey through higher education that ultimately led to his founding of the University of Phoenix, a for-profit institution.

Sperling, 93, a billionaire, died Friday at a hospital near San Francisco, according to a statement from Apollo Education Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix. His cause of death was not disclosed.

Sperling stepped down two years ago as Apollo's executive chairman, but his legacy remains as the founder of one of the biggest disrupters of traditional higher education.

Sterling founded the University of Phoenix to accommodate older students who wanted to advance their education but didn't have time for a typical classroom schedule. He built his schools near highways and busy intersections and scheduled evening classes.

"He was trying to provide a service that the private sector was not interested in doing," said University of Southern California professor William G. Tierney, who authored "New Players, Different Game: Understanding the Rise of For-Profit Colleges and Universities."

Sperling once said to Tierney: " 'I had one good idea, but it was a darn good idea,' " he recalled.

The University of Phoenix's reputation has suffered in the past few years as federal regulators reviewed its financial aid practices, and as criticism of for-profit colleges and how they attract students grew louder.

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