James E. Stowers
Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Jim Stowers graduated from Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri. He then received a bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri, where he also completed a two-year degree in medicine. He joined the Army Air Corps where he became a fighter pilot and gunnery instructor. Upon his return to civilian life in 1945, he enlisted in the Air Force Reserves and served as a captain until resigning his commission in 1957. He considered becoming a doctor like his father and grandfather before him, but Stowers soon entered the business world. After a stint selling mutual funds for Kansas-based Waddell & Reed, he founded a term life insurance firm – J.E. Stowers and Company.
American Century Investments
In 1958, Stowers started Twentieth Century Mutual Funds, a family of no-load funds, in Kansas City, Missouri. Stowers started the funds in 1958 with just $107,000 in assets from 24 shareholders. He built his business concentrating on small investors. The company changed its name to American Century Investments in 2000. Today, American Century's headquarters are located at 4500 Main in Kansas City, Missouri, near the Country Club Plaza, and employs around 1,600 people.
Stowers Institute for Medical Research
In 1994, Stowers and his wife Virginia Stowers, both cancer survivors, founded the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, a $2 billion biomedical research facility also located in Kansas City, Missouri. The Institute funds scientists who conduct basic research on the genes and proteins that control the fundamental processes of living cells. The Institute opened its doors in November 2000. By 2006, there were 20 independent research programs plus core facilities in bioinformatics, proteomics, microarray, molecular biology, and imaging. In total, there were around 300 scientists, research associates, technicians and support staff. Stowers is also providing $5.9 million over five years to Kevin Eggan of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, as well as supporting Chad Cowan at the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. In 2005, Jim Stowers said that he and his wife were supporting research at Harvard rather than in Missouri because of fears that the Missouri legislature would ban stem cell research. In 2006, Missouri voters passed the Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative by a slim margin, but opponents of stem cell research are threatening to place the issue back on the ballot in 2008.Categories: 1924 births | Living people | American money managers | American businesspeople | Businesspeople | Financial analysts | Money managers | People in finance | Stock and commodity market managers | American philanthropists