Zuckerberg says commencement speech was the first thing he completed at Harvard

13 years ago, Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook with his college roommates when he was still a student at Harvard.

It became an instant hit and he dropped out of school the following year in 2005. Fast forward 12 years later, Facebook is now one of the biggest tech firms and the dominant social networking website. 

Yesterday, the 33-year-old billionaire returned to the very campus it all began, to receive an honorary doctor of laws degree. He also addressed the 2017 commencement.

In his address, Zuckerberg touched on a wide range of topics, including climate change, universal basic income, and equality. He told the graduates that he himself is from the millennial generation, and "it is our turn to build great things." 

Here are some memorable quotes from the speech: 

"[My first lecture here] was Computer Science 121... I was late so I threw on a t-shirt and didn't realize until afterwards it was inside out and backwards with my tag sticking out the front. I couldn't figure out why no one would talk to me -- except one guy, KX Jin, he just went with it. We ended up doing our problem sets together, and now he runs a big part of Facebook. And that... is why you should be nice to people."

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"My best memory from Harvard was meeting Priscilla. I had just launched this prank website Facemash, and the [administrative] board wanted to "see me". Everyone thought I was going to get kicked out. My parents came to help me pack. My friends threw me a going away party. As luck would have it, Priscilla was at that party with her friend. We met in line for the bathroom in the Pfoho Belltower, and in what must be one of the all time romantic lines, I said: "I'm going to get kicked out in three days, so we need to go on a date quickly."

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"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." 

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"It's good to be idealistic. But be prepared to be misunderstood. Anyone working on a big vision will get called crazy, even if you end up right."

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"Let's face it. There is something wrong with our system when I can leave here and make billions of dollars in 10 years while millions of students can't afford to pay off their loans, let alone start a business."

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"You are graduating into a world that needs purpose. It's up to you to create it."

Author
Kareyst Lin
Kareyst Lin – Senior Writer

Kareyst has experience in writing about B2B technology for Computerworld Singapore, MIS Asia and CIO Asia; and on government technology for GCIO Asia. Her pet areas are artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and smart cities - these are fueled by her obsession with sci-fi movies and philosophy of mind. 

Sometimes she writes with light. 

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