He's known for helping put Lawrence at the center of the Google Earth program.
Later this year, Lawrence High School and Kansas University graduate Brian McClendon will be the center of the largest fundraiser for the Lawrence Schools Foundation.
"I'm happy to help Lawrence schools any way I'm able to," McClendon said in an e-mail to the Journal-World. "I got a great public education but realize that we need the support of the community to make the difference."
McClendon, engineering director for Google Earth and Google Maps, will be the keynote speaker for the 2008 Community Education Breakfast at
7:30 a.m. Sept. 5 at the Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive.
"We are thrilled. I think he's going to be both interesting and entertaining," said Susan Esau, executive director of the foundation.
McClendon is a 1982 LHS graduate and 1986 KU graduate. He also attended Hillcrest and West Junior High schools. His fondest memories about Lawrence schools include working in the lunchroom in sixth grade - his first job. He also got a start with computers when he programmed the game "Battleship" at LHS through a modem and terminal to KU's Honeywell computer, McClendon wrote.
He visited Lawrence during the past year for at least two public events: an engineering fair at KU and to be inducted into the LHS Hall of Honor.
The foundation's breakfast will be in its seventh year this fall. Last year, 550 people attended and the event raised more than $40,000, mostly to support early childhood education.
This year, board members for the foundation and Lawrence Education Achievement Partners hope the breakfast raises $50,000. Organizers are still planning and seeking sponsors. Typically at the event, keynote speakers talk about their experience in Lawrence public schools and invite some of their former teachers to attend. Nashville musician Chuck Mead, a 1979 LHS graduate, gave a humorous speech last year and played guitar songs with Superintendent Randy Weseman.
"We're going to let (McClendon) talk about whatever he wants to talk about," Esau said.