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Jim Stowers, founder of American Century Investments.

Jim Stowers

Founder, American Century Investments® 1924-2014

The son and grandson of doctors, James Evans Stowers Jr. was born on Jan. 10, 1924 in Kansas City, Mo. A life-long Missouri resident, Stowers spent his formative years immersed in the Midwestern values and culture that would later serve him well in his various professional and philanthropic pursuits. It was at the historic Kemper Military School in Boonville, Mo. that Stowers learned about discipline, organization and leadership. After graduating from the University of Missouri, he joined the Army Air Corps where he became a fighter pilot. 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.

Given his family's background in medicine, Stowers initially considered a career as a doctor. But, after completing three years of course work to become a doctor, Stowers put his medical career on hold and set his sights on 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—and in 1958, the money management firm Twentieth Century (later to become American Century Investments).