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Personal, Education, and Career History
Born in Istanbul, Turkey to ethnic Greek (specifically Pontic) parents, Lazaridis was five years old when his family moved to Canada in 1966, settling in Windsor, Ontario. At age 12, he won a prize at the Windsor Public Library for reading every science book in the library.
In 1979, he enrolled at the University of Waterloo in electrical engineering with an option in computer science. In 1984, Lazaridis responded to a request for proposal from General Motors to develop a network computer control display system.
GM awarded him a $500,000 contract. He dropped out of university that year, just two months before he was scheduled to graduate. The GM contract, a small government grant, and a $15,000 loan from Lazaridis's parents enabled Lazaridis, Mike Barnstijn, and Douglas Fregin to launch Research In Motion.
One of the company's first achievements was the development of barcode technology for film. RIM plowed the profits from that into wireless data transmission research, eventually leading to the introduction of the BlackBerry wireless mobile device in 1999, and its more well-known version in 2002.
On October 23, 2000, Lazaridis founded the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics with $100 million of personal funds, along with $10 million contributions from fellow RIM executives Jim Balsillie and Douglas Fregin.
On April 30, 2004, Lazaridis and his wife together donated $33.3 million to the University of Waterloo for its Institute for Quantum Computing.
On May 3, 2005, Lazaridis gave an additional $17.2 million to the University of Waterloo, primarily to aid the construction of a new building jointly shared by the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology.
On June 4, 2008, a further donation of $50 million to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics was announced.
As of June 5, 2009, by contributing a new gift of $25 million, Lazaridis and his wife have donated over $100 million to the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo.
Awards and Accolades
On October 21, 2000, Lazaridis received an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from the University of Waterloo, and in June 2003, he became its eighth chancellor. He was named Canada's Nation Builder of the Year for 2002 by readers of The Globe and Mail newspaper. In 2006, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Order of Ontario.
source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Lazaridis