Bring Elon Musk, Kimbal Musk & Mike Serbinis to Queen's

Elon Musk gives a tour for President Barack Obama.
Elon Musk gives a tour for President Barack Obama.
Credit: 
Supplied by Bill Ingalls
Today, the founders of Tesla, Kobo and Paypal are leaders in business and technology. But not long ago, they roamed the halls of Queen’s together.
 
Tech geniuses Elon Musk, Kimbal Musk and Mike Serbinis all pursued their undergraduate studies at Queen’s between 1989 and 1996.  
 
Two decades later, the “Bring Elon+Kimbal Musk and Mike Serbinis to Queen’s” initiative, a Facebook event, aims to convince the trio that they’re overdue for a visit. In just a few weeks, over a thousand people said they’d attend.
 
Organizer Nicholas Francis, ArtSci ’14 and former Rector, has wanted to see the three back at campus for some time. He found that many past and present students felt the same way.
 
“There’s been generations of students who want these guys to come back and I’m not sure if [Elon, Kimbal and Mike] are fully aware of [that],” Francis said. 
 
Serbinis met the Musks when Kimbal Musk was his residence don. The three not only became friends, but also business partners after graduation. In 1995, the Musk brothers created a web software company called Zip2. Serbinis became part of the 10-person team that helped build it. In 1999, the company was sold for $307 million.
 
Since then, the trio’s career paths have split, as each achieves his own respective successes. Elon made his way to billionaire status and is currently CEO of Tesla, SpaceX and a space rocket company with the long-term goal of helping colonize Mars. He’s also chairman and one of the founders of SolarCity, a solar energy provider.
 
Kimbal, on the other hand, is involved in both the tech and food industry. He’s on the board of multiple companies including both Tesla and SpaceX, as well as Chipotle Mexican Grill. He’s also co-founder of The Kitchen, a restaurant with eight locations across the U.S.
 
Serbinis sold his company, Kobo, in 2012 and is now working on his latest start-up, LEAGUE Inc. — a digital platform that connects people with the health professionals they need.
 
There’s no question why there’s demand for the Musk brothers and Serbinis to visit their alma mater. Among the three of them, they boast a lengthy list of notable achievements — a source for Queen’s pride and  
Queen’s inspiration.
 
Elon once described his time at Queen’s as “formative years” to the Queen’s Alumni Review. It’s a time when students are expected to begin developing their aspirations. However, many students struggle to imagine life past university at all, let alone ones filled with big dreams. 
 
Success stories like the Musks’ and Serbinis’ are ones we often look at with starry eyes. They’re difficult to comprehend and even harder to imagine for ourselves. What’s special about seeing big accomplishments come from Queen’s alumni — a Comm ’94, Comm ’95 and Sci ’96 — is that it provides tangibility to success and life outside these limestone walls.
 
“These guys are changing the world,” Francis said. “For a lot of Queen’s students especially, [it’s] really encouraging and inspiring that they were on our campus.” 
 
“A lot of people feel some sort of connection to them just by being [at Queen’s].”
 
How the return should be marked hasn’t been decided, although there has been talks of keeping it casual, having the trio back for a drink and Q&A. Ultimately, there’s just eagerness to welcome these alum back into the 
Queen’s community.
 
The Facebook event currently suggests that people tweet messages at Elon, Kimbal and Mike’s personal Twitters with the hashtag #comehome. Francis points out that it’s the simplest way to get into direct contact with them, and he believes that with a large enough effort, home they will come.
 
You can take part in the initiative by joining the Facebook event as well as tweeting Elon Musk, Kimbal Musk and Mike Serbinis. Their Twitter handles are @elonmusk, @kimbal and @mikeserbinis.

Mike Serbinis' tweet

Tom Jacobs' tweet

Corrections

August 18, 2015
This article previously incorrectly stated that Mike Serbinis' year and faculty was ArtSci '96, not Sci '96.

The Journal regrets the error.

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