In Memorium: Entrepreneurs Who Died in 2009

17 of 30

Stanley Kaplan, Founder of Kaplan Learning

Rejected from five New York medical schools, Kaplan started his tutoring business out of his parents’ Brooklyn basement with an aim to help students excel on merit and hard work as opposed to some intrinsic scholastic aptitude. His test preparation courses began to grow in popularity and, when he learned that a UC Berkeley student was flying across the country to attend, he undertook a national expansion. By 1984, Kaplan’s “poor man's private school" had 95,000 students attending over 700 full- and part-time locations and he sold it to the Washington Post Company for $45 million. Donald Graham, the chairman of the Post Company’s board, eulogized Kaplan this way: "He invented an industry, and not a small one. He was a highly principled leader of his company, and a very generous man."