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Mark Zuckerberg gets honorary law degree from Harvard, the university he dropped out of to start Facebook

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He joins a long list of (sometimes unusual) celebs with honorary degrees

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has received an honorary degree from the university he famously dropped out of 12 years ago — to start Facebook. Interestingly, although Zuckerberg was studying computer science when he set up the social network, his honorary degree is in law.

The 33-year-old multi-billionaire returned to Harvard University yesterday to receive his legum doctorem, and to give a Commencement speech to some of the Ivy League institute’s alumni.

Zuckerberg — now the youngest Commencement speaker in the uni’s history — told the graduates:

I’m here to tell you finding your purpose isn’t enough. The challenge for our generation is creating a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.

He continued:

Today I want to talk about three ways to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose: by taking on big meaningful projects together, by redefining equality so everyone has the freedom to pursue purpose, and by building community across the world.

Zuckerberg is in good company. Other people to be awarded honorary Harvard law degrees, abbreviated LL.D. by the uni, include Desmond Tutu (1979) and Winston Churchill (1943). A whole host of ex-presidents have been awarded them too, including John F. Kennedy (1956), Franklin D. Roosevelt (1929) and Herbert Hoover (1917).

But you don’t have to be a president to receive an honorary doctorate in law.

Did you know that, in 2014, the University of East Anglia made comedian Julian Clary an honorary doctor of civil law? And that this was the same title given to singer and campaigner Bob Geldof by Newcastle University in 2007?

Other unexpected names to obtain UK honorary law degrees include Yoko Ono. The peace campaigner, singer and widow of John Lennon accepted a law degree from University of Liverpool in 2001. Paul Lindley, who founded baby food brand Ella’s Kitchen, was given an honorary law degree from the University of Reading in 2013.

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11 Comments

Alan P

In the UK, if your uni gives honorary doctorates to celebs you know it’s crap.

(15)(1)

The Reanimated Corpse of John Smith MP

Case in point Ulster University giving James Nesbitt a Doctorate. There are many things James Nesbitt needs – a good slap for one – but a Doctorate he doth not.

(3)(0)

Jones Day Junior Associate

Look at how happy he looks. Such a big smile, just like Katie King’s smile – so lovely.

(12)(1)

Just Anonymous

Zuckerberg has created a very successful business and made a huge amount of money. Fair play to him.

Why that gives him the moral authority to lecture others on what their purpose in life should be, I’m not quite sure.

(25)(2)

LegalRec

Ohhh shut up! It is his opinion and his right to give his opinion. Come back when you have done something that influences a generation.

(5)(16)

Just Anonymous

Wow, someone’s grouchy.

Of course he has a right to his opinion. I’m merely pointing out that his business success gives him no special insight into this matter.

(20)(0)

wataguan

Also – his business encourages people to be introverts and self obsessed: selfies, walls, timelines, a “false reality” of how cool, popular, photogenic and filtered you are. ….

This is totally at odds with his whole “find your purpose” / “find everyone’s purpose” philosophy…..

Also – what is essentially a voluntary human database of everyone on the planet, and their commercial likes / dislikes is a bit 1984……

(4)(1)

Chris

But why did he get a honorary law degree, when he studied computer science? The article mentions this, but doesn’t specify why, which is kinda annoying…

(4)(0)

Mohamed Osama Khan

Are they just giving the doctorate degree without him actually physically being there??

(0)(0)

Mohamed Osama Khan

My question is… did Mark go back to school and earn the degree?

(0)(0)

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(0)(0)

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