Jimmy John Liautaud part of Horatio Alger Association's Class of 2018

Jimmy John Liautaud part of Horatio Alger Association's Class of 2018

CHAMPAIGN — Sandwich-chain owner Jimmy John Liautaud overcame childhood adversities on his path to success, said an organization set to honor him next year.

Liautaud, the founder of Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches, has been selected to become a member of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans.

He and 11 others chosen for the organization's honor class of 2018 will be formally inducted in a ceremony in April in Washington, D.C.

The Horatio Alger Association is a nonprofit educational organization that honors the achievements of outstanding people and encourages young people to pursue their dreams through education.

Liautaud was one of four children born to a Lithuanian immigrant mother and inventor/entrepreneur/educator father. His childhood and teen years included "a roller coaster of highs and lows" and struggles in school. He finished second to last in his high school class, the organization said.

"Jimmy is an excellent example of the Horatio Alger story," said Matthew Rose, the association's president and a 2013 Horatio Alger Award recipient. "He persevered through a series of adversities during his childhood and ultimately followed his own path to create the life that he desired. I believe that many of our scholars will relate to Jimmy's challenges and find hope and comfort in the fact that he did not let these hardships limit him. He believed in himself."

Liautaud founded Jimmy John's with a $25,000 loan from his dad and helped launch his business by going door-to-door at Eastern Illinois University dorms offering free samples. Today, Jimmy John's has more than 2,700 locations in 43 states.

Liautaud said he's proud to join the association.

"Like many of the association's scholars, my childhood was not easy, but the challenges I faced have shaped me into the man I am today," he said.

The Horatio Alger Association's scholarship program established in 1984 has given away more than $125 million to students in need, with all funding provided by the association's members and friends.

For more than seven decades, the association has been honoring outstanding business, civic and cultural leaders who have achieved success after overcoming adversities and remained committed to supporting education and charities in their communities.

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Bystander wrote on December 16, 2017 at 7:12 am
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One of his biggest challenges was the 1992 rape case Liautaud faced that took a jury 6 hours to deliberate before returning a not guilty verdict. 

GLG wrote on December 16, 2017 at 8:12 am

Maybe you can give us a link to that story?

Mef wrote on December 16, 2017 at 8:12 am

That is good information to know. I did not know that about him. I just know him for the cheetah and elephant and other exotic wildlife he pays a lot of money to be able to hunt and proudly display pictures of himself with those slain animals. Look it up on Google if you've never seen them. Sadly his lifestyle is not enough to get people to stop eating his sandwiches, but for me personally it was. If other people want to honor him, so be it, kudos for him I suppose. Can't take away his successful career as a business owner and what he has accomplished.

chambanaman wrote on December 16, 2017 at 3:12 pm


He said she just felt guilty about doing the deed so accused him of rape