The Genesis of Change University

by Jim King


We thought it was about time to share a little bit about why and how Change University came to exist.  Our website,, gives a bit of information about us.  But there are still questions that we receive.  Hopefully this post will address most of the questions that we have received during our first eight months.


In The Beginning

During the summer of 2015, a meeting between the valedictorian of the Class of ’15 at Midway High School (just outside of Waco, TX) and a Class of ’75 graduate of the same high school – me – was scheduled at a local Starbucks.  Even with the age difference, we had a number of commonalities – three in particular – and the plan for the meeting focused on a mentoring relationship as the valedictorian was heading off to college.  Before the meeting happened, the ’15 valedictorian asked if he could bring to the meeting the salutatorian of the class as that student too shared the same three commonalities.  At the end of that meeting, the two ’15 grads (both males) asked if it would be OK to bring the #3 and #4 graduates in the class of ’15 (two females) to the next meeting for they too shared the three commonalities.  It was at that subsequent meeting that a plan was discussed that would ultimately lead to the creation of Change University.


Have You Guessed What They Are?

I am hoping that at this point you are asking “What are the three commonalities?”  The first might be somewhat obvious from the previous paragraph: success in academics.  No, I was not one of the top four in my graduating class like the class of ’15 students or even in the top 1% of the class like these four.  My interest in “success in academics” is driven by having spent over 35 years in higher education, working with all types of students as they pursue academic success.  The second commonality is not as easily distinguished.  You might have guesses.  But I think that it might come as a surprise to some if not a lot of you.  The answer: athletics.  All four of these top four (and top 1%) graduates, as did I, had earned at least one varsity athletic letter: two of the four student athletes in soccer, one in tennis and one in baseball.  This was a very special group of four student athletes.  I am not naïve enough to think that the top four students in a large graduating class being varsity athletic letter winners has never happened before.  But I have been around long enough to know that it is at least a very rare occurrence.  The third commonality?  A DESIRE TO CHANGE THE WORLD!  And who can’t get excited about that.  So for me, just getting to meet and talk to these four student athletes that wanted to change the world was pretty exciting.  Additionally, one important question was raised during the meeting: “How many more top 1% student athletes that desired to change the world were out there?”  We left that meeting excited to try and find out and wondering what, if anything, might be next.


The Plan Takes Shape

It did not take even the drive home after that second meeting to start brainstorming.  The initial plan called for the development of a group of graduates that shared the three commonalities of the first four: top 1% of their graduating class (or top two students from smaller schools), at least one varsity athletic letter and a desire to change the world.  The group took on the name “Game Changers::Difference Makers”.  Even before the recruiting of additional members began, some initial goals were set:

  1. Create a birds-of-a-feather network of high school graduates that shared the three commonalities.
  2. Find ways to “grow” the desire to change the world through knowledge acquisition and experiences.
  3. Make tangible “differences” in the world.


Goal #1

Even before completely fleshing out these three initial goals, the students started building the GC::DM birds-of-a-feather network.  After those first four headed off to Harvard, Baylor, Trinity (San Antonio) and Hardin-Simmons, they recruited more students at those schools.  I recruited students at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.  We recruited students from University of Texas, Texas A&M, University of Arkansas and a handful of other schools – large and small, public and private.  This effort is still underway.  HELP!!!  If you know someone that fits the three commonalities and is a ’15 or ’16 high school graduate (plus graduates of all future years), please have them email their qualifying information to  We really want to reach out to all colleges and universities in the U.S.  And lest you think we don’t want international connections, that assumption would be false.  We are in the process of determining how to integrate graduates from countries that do not have the same type of secondary education athletic programs that we have in the U.S.  Stand by for a future post about that topic.


Goal #2

The initial four students grew to a much larger number.  Within that larger group was a very active group of about ten that started envisioning what “could be”.  They really wanted to attack goal #2, but they felt that would not happen as a “secret” Facebook group (the communication link for the network).  Thus, Change University ( was created to help make goal #2 a reality.  From the get-go it was for everyone everywhere, not just GC::DM members, to have a one-stop portal to use to find out via videos, blog posts and other written materials about people around the world that are already making a difference, to find out about free and low-cost online webinars and courses through which to acquire knowledge and to share their own stories of making a difference as they unfold.

Hopefully you have had a chance to read the stories of our Champions of ChangeU.  Hopefully you have had a chance to watch some of their videos.  If you have not, please do so.  These are wonderful people doing wonderful thing in tough places.  NOTE: If you have a personal contact that you believe should be named a Champion of ChangeU, please have that person send their website link and a personal phone number (so that we may contact them) to:

You have already seen a post for a free course.  You will soon see an entire page for such items.  You will also see a page with related books and other reading materials.  But please feel free to send us notices about other books and courses as you find out about them.  The more we can share, the more knowledge that can be shared with everyone.  Please send such information to  And as we progress through this Fall semester, you will start to see some stories of our GC::DM members making a difference around the world.

Change University is truly a place for everyone to learn how to become a global difference maker.  Much work has taken place towards goal #2.  But it is a never-reached goal.  Yet we continue to stretch towards it!


Goal #3

That leaves us with goal #3.  I do not want to call this one a dream even though there is nothing tangible to share about it at this time.  This goal will be accomplished when students from Harvard, Trinity, Arkansas and UMHB go to Thailand to help with a project to make a difference in the lives of the poor in Isan.  The third goal will take feet when a non-profit in Namibia engages ChangeU to bring students from Texas A&M and Texas and Auburn and Clemson, as one team, to Namibia to help develop solutions for a social issue.  The third goal will fly when Dell or AT&T or Apple pays for a team of five members of GC::DM to go to Jordan to help in Syrian refugee efforts.  So as you can see, this goal is not just a dream.  It is just not reality yet.  If anyone out there can help make it a reality, please contact ChangeU through the following email address:   Be a part of the difference making!


ChangeU – And You!

This blog post has been a trip down memory lane.  That memory lane has been filled with lots of potholes and felled trees and yield signs – and even a few stop signs we decided to “miss”.  But at the distant end of that lane is a rainbow and a brightly shining sun.  We invite you to grab for yourself the same chance I am have: working with this group of kids.  They are our future and I can promise you that our future is very bright.  Please find a way through ChangeU to join in on the fun!  Change University provides the vehicle on which we may all ride together down that lane!!


Dr. Jim King is the President of Change University.  You may read more about him at the bottom of the page at this link:


Our Champion of Champions at ChangeU!

by Jim King

Please allow me to introduce ChangeU’s very own Champion of Champions at ChangeU, Becky Turner Martin.  Becky serves as Executive VP at ChangeU.  In that position she serves as the role model for everyone at ChangeU.  Becky is the founder of Women Sewing by Faith (, a collective of international faith-based cooperatives sewing for solidarity currently sourcing from Bolivia, Haiti and Tanzania.

There will be a little information about WSBF in this post.  However, no one can tell that story better than Becky.  So we are reserving the complete WSBF story for Becky to tell in a future blog post.  This blog post is going to share the many things that Becky has done that makes us so proud to have her as our Executive VP.

First of all, as you read this blog post, remember that Becky is a VERY young lady.  She graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of International Relations with Honors in 2009.  When you read all that she has done to make a difference in the world and to create change in the lives of the disadvantaged around the world, remember: 2009!

After Becky’s graduation from USC, she spent a year in Bolivia working for a USAID sub-contractor. While in Bolivia, Becky had an assortment of duties with the sub-contractor.  She conducted training courses and seminars to local NGOs and indigenous communities.  She had numerous administrative responsibilities.  She also had responsibilities related to a software product that was applied as a property rights management tool.  These responsibilities brought Becky in contact with numerous human issues as well as many groups addressing these issues.  Becky’s time in Bolivia also brought her in contact with many individuals trying to make a difference in their own lives.  These encounters led Becky to found Women Sewing by Faith (  In this effort, WSBF initially sourced handmade products from a women’s sewing cooperative in Bolivia to be sold primarily in the United States.  Through WSBF, the artisans have realized access to markets previously unavailable to them.

In January of 2012, Becky embarked on a journey to earn a Master’s in Humanitarian Logistics and Management at the Universita della Svizzera Italiana.  Later that year, Becky went to work with a U.S.-based company specializing in global water treatment. This was followed by a graduate internship in Geneva, Switzerland, with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) where she had responsibilities related to software and logistics.  Through these two positions (U.S. & Geneva), Becky established connections with numerous change-focused organizations and many change-focused initiatives.

Immediately following Becky’s time with OCHA, she completed her master’s degree and immediately after that began a year with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a Logistics ORISE Fellow and Development Associate for the Emergency Response & Recovery Branch of the CDC.  In this role, she was assigned to post-disaster Haiti.  Becky has responsibilities related to health, education, energy, agriculture and other areas.  She was also once again exposed to sewing-cooperative artisans.  It was due to her time in Haiti that Becky expanded her Women Sewing by Faith sourcing to Haiti.  Thus, these Haitian artisans, like those in Bolivia, were able to access previously unavailable markets – and, thus, better provide for their families at a very, very tough time to do so in Haiti.

After Haiti, and while serving as a software-industry consultant for implementations in Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, Mexico and Nicaragua, Becky served as a Humanitarian Consultant with the Humanitarian Logistics Association where she did research, analysis and writing related to humanitarian logistics’ operations and supply chain.  Her time in both of these positions further solidified Becky as a change agent and difference maker.

Currently Becky is serving as an Emergency Management Specialist with the Global Rapid Response Team for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  This team serves as a “deployable asset to help CDC experts respond to global public health concerns.” (
Becky is currently stationed in a southern African country – making a difference and effecting much-needed change.

In her “down” time, Becky often travels the world – and continues with her difference-making.  While on vacation in Tanzania, Becky encountered a women’s sewing cooperative.  Now, Women Sewing by Faith has a third location for sourcing product: Tanzania.  And now the ladies in that cooperative, like the ones in Bolivia and Haiti, have access to markets which were previously unavailable.

For the final content paragraph of this post, I would like to share part of a tribute to Becky written by her friend, Camila Thorndike (who also referred to Becky as “indomitable and awe-inspiring”), posted on Becky’s Facebook thread on March 2, 2016:

“This lady lives with the most graceful faith I have ever seen. Her sincere dedication to the least of these, combined with dozens of escapes from death, could convince anyone of a higher power for good. As a teenager she ran to safety from white supremacist stalkers across bridges and through ravines. After surviving a plane crash in the Amazon she knew enough about the mechanics of explosion to rush everyone out within 90 seconds. In Bolivia she fought and won against a recalcitrant embassy to get back home and survive antibiotic-resistant Typhoid. No doubt she’s aided along the way by the gratitude of countless lives she’s saved, from the hundreds of children receiving vaccines in Haiti to the drugged girl in an American bar she literally wrestled from a would-be rapist.”

2009?  Seriously!  It is hard to believe, but it is true.  Becky graduated from USC in 2009!  She has served in all of the listed roles/positions, has effected change in the many mentioned as well as many unmentioned locations, and has made a difference in innumerable lives since 2009!  What a great role model for those wishing to make a difference, to be a change agents.  There can be no doubt why Becky Turner Martin is our Champion of Champions at ChangeU!


Dr. Jim King is the President of Change University.  You may read more about him at the bottom of the page at this link:


“Goud” Sight!

by Jim King


NO!  We did not misspell the title of this week’s blog post.  This week’s blog post is about a special type of sight – “Goud” Sight.  The post is about ChangeU’s newest Champion of Change, Dr. A. Saibaba Goud.  While holding numerous titles, this blog post will focus on Dr. Goud as the founder of Devnar School for the Blind in Hyderabad, Telangana State, India.

In March 2016, I had the opportunity to visit with Dr. Goud at Devnar.  The opportunity was made possible by my friend Dr. Tulasi Qualixa.  Dr. Goud shared a great deal about Devnar, “his” students and the successes of his graduates.  During the visit, my team was able to celebrate Holi Day 2016 with the visually impaired students, their teachers and the staff at Devnar.  During this event, participants throw, spray, shoot and splash water on each other and then dowse each other with colored powders – over and over.  You may question how visually impaired children could participate in such an activity.  But I promise you they can – and well!!!  Credit Devnar School.  Credit Dr. Goud.   Words cannot explain the sight of all of us at the end of our time there – nor the impact this activity and our time at Devnar had on each of us.  This was one of those once in a lifetime experiences and it makes me proud to share this specific story of our newest Champion of Change!

Most of the content of this blog post is from my visit with Dr. Goud and from information on the website of the foundation that sponsors the school ( .  Some of the content is from information about the school at their Facebook site ( .  You are strongly encouraged to visit both websites for the most up-to-date information.

Devnar Foundation was established in January, 1991.  ‘Devnar’ is a combination of two words: DEV (God) and NAR (Man), highlighting the fact that there is God in every man. If the entire humanity is the family of God, the visually challenged children are special members in it.  And so, they should be given every possible opportunity to develop their potentialities and latent talents. Devnar Foundation through Devnar School tries to unleash the incredible capacity of students by giving them values based education, thus enabling them to realize that within them can be found the skill, knowledge and motivation to make something special happen. The Foundation aims to provide opportunities on par with international standards for the visually challenged children in India so that they can be absorbed in the mainstream of society as socially productive individuals.

Devnar School started in 1991 with four students in a rented room.  In Devnar School, education, boarding and lodging are absolutely free and any visually challenged child is admitted during any part of the year.  The School grew to over 500 students by 2012, has continued to grow and is housed in a three story, technology-enabled building owned by the Foundation. This phenomenal growth of the School is due to the undoubted ability and unflinching enthusiasm of the founder and his wife, the dedicated staff, many philanthropists and donors.  Devnar School is now acclaimed as the best institution for the visually challenged in India with the students aspiring to reach lofty heights of achievement, hitherto thought impossible for such children.  Many graduates of Devnar School have received Bachelor’s degrees.  Some have also earned Master’s degrees.  And many, many more have accepted jobs that would have never been possible without the education and personal development they received at Devnar School.  Many of these accomplishments may be found on the Foundation’s website ( .

Dr. Goud, the founder, continues to work tirelessly for the development of Devnar School.  The infrastructure and equipment are updated constantly.  Dr. Goud continually brings in highly capable teachers and staff.   And he constantly advocates of behalf of Devnar School and its students.

In addition to being the founder of Devnar School, Dr. Goud is a leading ophthalmologist in India who is also the recipient of the Dr. B.C. Roy National Award in 2004 for his outstanding services in the field of social medical relief.  Dr. Goud was the first person in India to be awarded a Ph.D. in Community Ophthalmology.  He is a crusader against ‘darkness’ and a champion of Community Ophthalmology.

Dr. Goud’s efforts have been much recognized as evidenced by him being the recipient of the following additional awards:

  1. President of India National Award for the welfare of people with disabilities 1997
  2. President of India Award for ‘Best Institution in the Country 2002’
  3. Rastriya Gaurav Award
  4. Datta Award
  5. Mahashabde Award
  6. Duke of Edinburgh Award
  7. Drishti Pradatha Award
  8. Srinivasan Award
  9. Agarwal Gold Medal
  10. Vijayashree Award
  11. Padma Shri Award
  12. Yudhvir Memorial Award

Dr. Goud is or has been President of ‘Help Us”, an organization for leprosy patients, President of the National Society for Prevention of Blindness (N.S.P.B) and a member of Indian Red Cross Society (A.P.).  He has presented papers at national and international conferences, published many articles in English and Telugu in leading newspapers and journals.  He has provided educative and informative radio talks and Doordarshan (a leading Indian television network) interviews.  And he has also authored three books, one in English and two in Telugu:

1.  The Organ of the Sight (in English)
2. Nayanabhiramam (in Telugu vernacular)
3. Meeru-Mee Kanulu (book on eye care for neo-literates in Telugu vernacular)

Even though Dr. Goud has remained very busy in his professional life, his community efforts – especially through Devnar Foundation and Devnar School – continue to receive his special attention and efforts.  And Change University is proud to name him a Champion of Change!

NOTE: Readers are strongly encouraged to download the full-color brochure about Devnar at the following link:


Dr. Jim King is the President of Change University.  You may read more about him at the bottom of the page at this link: