Mark Zuckerberg Will Be Harvard’s Commencement Speaker

The Facebook founder will speak at the 2017 graduation.
mark zuckerberg

Photo via AP

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will be Harvard’s 2017 commencement speaker, the college announced today.

Zuckerberg, of course, infamously invented the world-changing social media platform while a Harvard undergrad. He dropped out in 2005.

To make the announcement today, Zuckerberg appeared in a video alongside fellow dropout and fellow tech billionaire Bill Gates, who gave the commencement address at the school in 2007. “They know we didn’t actually graduate, right?” he asks.

Harvard President Drew Faust praised Zuckerberg and the success of his social network in a prepared statement:

“Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership has profoundly altered the nature of social engagement worldwide. Few inventions in modern times can rival Facebook in its far-reaching impact on how people around the globe interact with one another,” Faust said. “And few individuals can rival Mark Zuckerberg in his drive to change our world through the innovative use of technology, as well as his commitment to advance science, enhance education, and expand opportunity through the pursuit of philanthropy.”

The ceremony for Harvard’s 366th commencement is slated for Thursday, May 25, at 2:30 p.m.

Zuckerberg, 32, was born in White Plains, New York, in 1984. He studied at New Hampshire’s Phillips Exeter Academy before enrolling at Harvard in 2002. Most of us, especially if you’ve seen The Social Network—which immortalized Facebook’s beginnings—know the story from there. His website, then called thefacebook.com, caught on like wildfire, spreading from college campus to college campus before taking over the world. A decade later, more than a billion people use it every day.

Zuckerberg is worth an estimated $57.6 billion, according to Forbes, which named him the world’s fifth wealthiest person (Bill Gates is most-richest, followed by Warren Buffet).

As Facebook CEO, he has had to answer for his company’s increasingly vital role in the way people communicate with one another and consume information. Recently, he has grappled with charges of political bias and of being complicit in the scourge of “fake news.”

Meanwhile, he has been sending signals that he may have aspirations for a political career, perhaps even that he could run for president.


Spencer Buell Staff Writer at Boston Magazine sbuell@bostonmagazine.com