Jun 11, 2007

Harvard dropout Bill Gates finally gets degree

New York: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates finally got his Harvard degree, more than 30 years after dropping out of the prestigious university to enter the software business and become the richest man in the world.

"We recognise the most illustrious member of the Harvard College class of 1977 never to have graduated from Harvard," said Harvard University Provost Steven Hyman, Thursday in granting Gates the honorary law degree.

Replying in the official graduation address, Gates said, "I did the best of everyone who failed." But he revealed that his true regret was leaving university "with no real awareness of the awful inequities in the world - the appalling disparities of health and wealth and opportunity that condemn millions of people to lives of despair."

Gates, 51, now runs the largest philanthropic endowment in the world, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with roughly $60 billion in assets. He urged the graduating class to use their talent, privilege and opportunity to help in fighting poverty around the world. "When you consider what those of us here ... have been given - in talent, privilege, and opportunity - there is almost no limit to what the world has a right to expect from us," he said.

"I want to exhort each of the graduates here to take on an issue - a complex problem, a deep inequity, and become a specialist on it. I hope you will judge yourselves not on your professional accomplishments alone, but also on how well you have addressed the world's deepest inequities, on how well you treated people a world away who have nothing in common with you but their humanity."

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