YouTube Founder Gives Back To His Alma Mater In Aurora

CHICAGO (CBS) – You may have seen some viral video clips on YouTube…

But did you know that YouTube’s founder got his start in a Chicago suburb?

Some of the greatest minds in technology got their start at a high school in Aurora.

Among them, YouTube’s co-founder Steve Chen.

He has made a big donation for the school to expand. Chen sat down with CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole while returning to his alma mater.

With its 3-D printers and virtual reality modeling stations, it is easy to make this place a high-tech business incubator, though it kind of is.

The Illinois Math and Science Academy is a three-year residential public school dedicated to innovation, and it is where Steve Chen got his start.

CBS: How did this place mold you?

“I’ve always been, kind of spending weekend up alone for six hours, just in my own room just playing around on my computer and all of a sudden, coming here you find out that I wasn’t that alone,” Chen said.

If you know that “Charlie bit my finger,” or laugh at internet sensation Jenna Marbles you have Chen to thank, he helped create YouTube.

CBS: Where did the idea for YouTube come in the first place?

“We just thought as more devices came out, there were going to be more ways to take video content – people are going to have to have a way to share this video content with their families,” Chen said. “Once we got it out there everyone was using this site. Everyone was using the app.”

The video sharing service was a game changer in pop culture and business, and even shaped the way politicians campaigned.

CBS: Did you imagine it would become what it is?

“No not at all,” Chen said. “I was watching the news and there were three new reports that day, but the sources of all those news reports came from YouTube videos. YouTube has become kind of a source for information, a source for content. I never expected that.”

Chen helped provide a million dollars in seed money to help his alma mater expand and create the center for innovation and inquiry. Its mission encourages high school students to create the products of tomorrow, today; he said that is not a stretch for the minds already at work here.

A couple impressive numbers about YouTube’s popularity…

According to YouTube’s charts, 52 videos have surpassed one-billion views, while seven of those have topped two-billion views.

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