K-State Alum Bill Porter, Founder of E*Trade Visits University

Bill Porter, the founder and chairman emeritus of E*TRADE, the online stock brokerage, delivered two lectures at Kansas State University. Porter received a master's degree in physics from K-State in 1952.

As part of the College of Business Administration's Distinguished Lecture Series, Porter presented "Change" at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 20, in McCain Auditorium.

He also was the inaugural speaker in the Department of Physics' new Ernest Fox Nichols Lecturers series, presenting "Applying Physics for the Betterment of Humankind" at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 20 in the K-State Student Union's Little Theatre.

Porter is a physicist, entrepreneur and inventor. With his first startup company, Commercial Electronics Inc., Porter invented the first color low-light-level broadcast television camera. He then went on to develop more than 20 products and services and to hold 14 patents.
He began what evolved into E*TRADE in 1982, an electronic brokerage service bureau for stockbrokers called Trade Plus. The first online trade in the world took place July 11, 1983, through Trade Plus.

Porter then began thinking about how individual investors could save money on brokerage fees and have more control over their investments by making real time stock transactions from their own computers.

In 1992 he launched E*TRADE Securities Inc., one of the original all-electronic brokerages, which began offering online investing services through America Online and CompuServe. In 1996, Porter's E*TRADE Group Inc. then launched www.etrade.com. E*TRADE is now known as E*TRADE Financial and provides a variety of online financial services.

Although Porter stepped down as chairman of E*TRADE in 1996, he did not slow down his entrepreneurial efforts. In 2000 he helped launch a new venture, the International Securities Exchange, the nation's first entirely electronic options market.

K-State's department of physics' Ernest Fox Nichols Distinguished Lecturers Series was named in honor of Nichols, who graduated in 1888 with a degree in physics from K-State. He went on to become a highly regarded physicist at the turn of the 20th century and to serve as president of both Dartmouth College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Speakers in the series will be distinguished alumni of the department, such as Porter.