Mark Zuckerberg gets honorary Harvard degree after dropping out

Pranksters identifying themselves as the "Winklevink twins" - an apparent play on the Winklevoss twins who famously sued Zuckerberg for stealing their idea for Facebook - later called Gizmodo and denied responsibility, suggesting instead it was the Harvard Lampoon. Zuckerberg, the world's fifth-richest person, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have a philanthropic foundation and have pledged to give away virtually all of their considerable wealth in Facebook shares.

Zuckerberg's speech was not the first time a successful dropout returned to the campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to address graduates. We're all going to make mistakes, so we need a society that focuses less on locking us up or stigmatizing us. It was 12 years ago that Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard.

The theme of his talk was objective, which he said would be even more important in the future when more people are entrepreneurs and "tens of millions" of jobs are lost to automation.

"If I get through this speech today it'll be the first time I actually finish something here at Harvard", Zuckerberg said. "We're all going to change jobs and roles so we all need affordable childcare and healthcare that's not tied to one employer". "Right now our society is way over-indexed on rewarding success and we don't do almost enough to make it easy for everyone to take lots of shots".

Zuckerberg explained how he "taught lessons on product development and marketing, and they taught me what it's like feeling targeted for your race and having a family member in prison".

"There is something wrong with our system when I can leave here and make billions of dollars in ten years when millions of students can't afford to pay off their loans, let alone start a business", Zuckerberg told the crowd on a cold, drizzly day when graduates' dark academic robes stood in contrast to the brightly colored plastic rain ponchos scattered through the audience.

Later in the speech, Zuckerberg's voice cracked with emotion as he talked about a high school student he mentors who is living in the US illegally.

"We can fix this", he said. Without a sense of goal, people will turn towards isolationism, nationalism and authoritarianism, instead of openness and global community, he said. Zuckerberg noted that it's tough for people to care about someone in another country when they're struggling at home. "If a high-school senior who doesn't know what his future holds can do his part to move the world forward", the CEO said, visibly and audibly tearing up, "then we owe it to him to do our part too". "This is not a battle of nations, it's a battle of ideas". "Forces for the flow of knowledge, trade and immigration, against those who would slow them down", said Zuckerberg. While there, he took his followers on a tour of the space and of course, streamed the visit on Facebook Live.

  • Zachary Reyes