The University of South Carolina Appoints Dr. Gordon Jones, CEO and Co-Founder of Validide, a Fast Growing Startup in the Digital Identity Space as an iSchool Fellow

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The Next Cohort of iSchool Fellows Has Been Named Responsible for Assisting the School with Curriculum, Research, and Mentorship Input in Key Areas of Specialization and Expertise

Dr. Gordon Jones, a noted entrepreneur, educator, author, and philanthropist has been tapped to join a distinguished group of his peers as a Fellow for the iSchool at the University of South Carolina. Currently serving as the entrepreneur-in-residence for the school, Dr. Jones is also one of the Co-Founders for Validide, a cryptographic-based decentralized digital identity wallet system utilizing blockchain that was launched out of the school in early 2020.

Dr. Jones graduated from The Citadel, and then served two tours with the 82nd Airborne Division before going on to a distinguished career in the private sector. He earned his Masters and Doctorate degrees in Health Administration from the Medical School at the University of South Carolina. Working for several large corporations such as McKesson, National Data Corporation, and West Corp/Intrado. Dr. Jones ultimately went on to launch his first of several successful technology products and applications.

With his appointment as a Fellow, Dr. Jones and his colleagues are tasked with ensuring that the University transforms how they are preparing the next generation of professionals within the walls of the School of Information Sciences. Specifically, they will be asked to provide input on curriculum and course design, insight on research projects, advise faculty and students, and serve as guest speakers. During his tenure at the University, Dr. Jones has already established a strong track record of success developing future entrepreneurs with his launch of Validide.

Marrying his passion for inspiring entrepreneurship with his deep belief in the power of Blockchain, Dr. Jones has been known for challenging his students to identify real-world problems that can be solved using Blockchain as its backbone or infrastructure. This was how Co-founder and VP of Marketing at Validide, Erica Barnette, first came together with the Dr. She defined her problem for her final project of the course, which ultimately spurred the evolution of the company that is now approaching its first year in business. “I knew that my problem, which was giving away too much personal information every time we showed an ID or driver's license at the point of purchase or to enter an establishment, could be solved with blockchain technology. I also knew there was a real business model for bringing that solution to market,” said Erica “Dr. Jones not only inspired me to figure out how to make the vision a reality, but he also continues to be a mentor on how to build a real business that can truly impact the greater community. It’s inspiring to have a professor make academics come to life.”

As a Fellow with the University, Dr. Jones and the rest of the cohort will be actively looking at how to engage and excite the student body so that more students like Erica across the college can transcend the classroom and carry the textbook lessons into real-world applications. “We are very excited to have Dr. Jones, and all of our Fellows, represent the iSchool as we work together to create one of the top academic programs in the country,” said Professor Karen Gavin, interim Director of the College of Information Science.

About Validide
Founded in 2021 in Columbia, South Carolina by blockchain expert and entrepreneur Dr. Gordon Jones, along with Erica Barnette, Seth McGaugh, and Nicole Spracale, Validide aims to empower people to transform their personal information into a verifiable credential without their data being sold, stolen, or stored. In a world where data and information are stockpiled by Big Tech companies, Validide was created to be the premier solution for businesses and individuals looking to take control of their identities through a virtual wallet. For more information, visit

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Erica Barnette
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