One of the world’s most famous college dropouts finally got his degree. Well, sort of.
On Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg received an honorary degree from Harvard University and delivered a commencement speech to the Class of 2017. Instead of his customary gray T-shirt, Zuckerberg sported a crisp Navy suit and told the grads to have a “sense of purpose.”
Zuckerberg, sounding at times presidential, said it’s this generation’s turn to do great work. Work that needs, yep, purpose.
“Purpose is a feeling when you are bigger than yourself,” he said. “Purpose creates true happiness. Let’s do big things not only to create progress, but purpose.”
Earlier, Zuckerberg, 33, posed with his parents after getting an honorary law degree, a photo of which had over a million likes on Facebook. Zuck was among 10 public figures receiving honorary degrees, including Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench and acclaimed actor James Earl Jones, perhaps known best as the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars.
It’s been well documented Zuckerberg created Facebook inside his tiny dorm room at Harvard before leaving school 12 years ago. His experiment has now grown into the world’s largest social network with nearly 2 billion users. The Ivy League school is also where he met his wife, Priscilla Chan. The couple are expecting their second child.
Zuckerberg’s rouser comes at a time when not only is he considered one of the most influential people in the world, but also as Facebook continues to generate questionable headlines. Besides being criticized for the rise of fake news and arguably helping US President Donald Trump win the election, the social network is also under fire for live-streaming violence, murder and even revenge porn.
Otherwise, the Harvard address culminates an eventful week for Zuckerberg who spent much time reminiscing around the campus. On Tuesday, he live-streamed a 22-minute video from his old dorm room with Chan that was watched by about 2 million people.
Zuckerberg’s speech leaned heavily on his manifesto — a 6,000-word open letter he wrote in February on how he wants Facebook to help build a better world. He hammered that point home repeatedly to the Harvard grads that even global change starts small and that it can be done.
“Your ability to build communities, to create a world where every single person has a sense of purpose,” he said. “Class of 2017, you are graduating into a world that needs purpose, and it’s up to you create it.”
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