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Bill Gates to Finally Receive His Harvard Degree

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the better-late-than-never dept.

Microsoft 336

coondoggie writes "It's not like he needs it to beef up his résumé, but the world's richest college dropout finally is getting his degree. Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, will speak at Harvard University's commencement ceremony in June and, like all commencement speakers, will receive an honorary degree from the institution. It's hard to guess if Gates, the wealthiest person in the world and co-founder of a company that brought in $44 billion in revenue last year, cares. But the programming whiz who once dropped out of Harvard will likely feel some sense of satisfaction."

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336 comments

Rich man's GED (4, Insightful)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455359)

I tend to view the bachelors degree as the high school diploma of the 21st century...
so I guess that makes the honorary degree something akin to a rich man's GED.

Re:Rich man's GED (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455517)

As a drop-out-done-good myself (probably doing better than anyone I ever went to school with as well as the teachers and administrators), I would probably react to an honorary degree with a big fuck you. Like someone who stuck it out on their own and made something great for themselves in the world inevitably need some stamp of approval from a bunch of nose-in-the-air academic snoots?

Re:Rich man's GED (5, Informative)

neonmonk (467567) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455537)

Stamp of approval?

It's an honorary degree, it's more like saying "we recognise you as being prominent in this field and here's the proof."

Not: "omglolwtf u didnt get a degree heres one now ur one of us!!1 lol"

Re:Rich man's GED (5, Funny)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455721)

Which field? I didn't know there was a subject called "monopology".

Re:Rich man's GED (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456189)

no, it's in the field of itsatrap!!!ology, of cause!

Re:Rich man's GED (1, Interesting)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456077)

Most people strive to become sucessful to spite the fact that they have no degree. Myself included. I would absolutely refuse one should someone attempted to offer it to me.

That said, being Bill Gates might be a different story. Hes got enough money to buy the damn school.

Re:Rich man's GED (2, Insightful)

neonmonk (467567) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456321)

Yes, but he's giving a talk to people who are striving to get a degree. So he obviously sees it as something that's relatively worthwhile. He even tried to get one himself.

I think you're putting too much stock into this "honorary degree," it of course isn't worth the paper it's written on and everyone knows that, including him.

It's just nice to get recognition, who cares who it's from.

That's all it is, recognition. If you're too high and mighty with your 'I did well in spite of having a degree Ha Ha Ha society take that!' then I think you're missing the point (and it's probably a good thing you didn't bother spending 4/5 years attaining a degree).

Re:Rich man's GED (2, Insightful)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455715)

Making more money then university faculty or administrative staff isn't very hard to do. You get into that line of work because you're making and impact and or getting solid benefits, not because you plan on owning a winter home in Aspen.

And as for the "stamp of approval..." ... well, if you're attending a university for a stamp of approval you are, at the very least, not utilizing that resource properly.

Re:Rich man's GED (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456187)

Re: Your sig...

I believe he said, "There's computers..."

Be excellent to each other... and Party on! /me wiggles fingers in air guitar flourish

Nose-in-the-air academic snoots... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18455827)

As a drop-out-done-good myself (probably doing better than anyone I ever went to school with as well as the teachers and administrators), I would probably react to an honorary degree with a big fuck you. Like someone who stuck it out on their own and made something great for themselves in the world inevitably need some stamp of approval from a bunch of nose-in-the-air academic snoots?
<rant>
Let's not forget that while Bill Gates is a shining example to college dropouts everywhere, he still did not get to where he is today by his wits and ruthless business strategies alone. He also had to stand on the shoulders of the engineers and programmers that wrote Windows, MS Office, etc. and most of those people were precisely the type of nose-in-the-air snoots with a college degree who didn't follow his example and drop out. Now you can probably defend your self by pointing to the quality of Windows, MS Office and other Microsoft products, which is perceived to be rather low in some quarters and argue that Bill hasn't been well served by those programmers and engineers anyway. I'd say that any shortcomings in Microsoft products are probably more the fault of Microsoft's management and it's history of practicing an approach to development and product testing schedules where marketing issues outweigh quality and proper development practices (i.e. Just develop it really fast... And who needs thorough software testing anyway?? It burns up to much time and drives up costs.) than they are the fault of the programmers and engineers who have to abide by them. I can remember what Windows 3.x and 98 used to be like, I can see how much of an improvement Windows XP and Vista are today. Neither is perfect mind you, my chief complaints with Windows 98 for example used to be: stability, lousy security and a UI that almost drove me insane with useless questions and endless 'Apply' buttons followed by far to many obligatory reboots. Microsoft has now more or less tackled the stability issue, they seem to be getting mildly serious about security but their UI still sucks although there are fewer reboots these days which is a plus. So Micosoft's management has learned quite a few painful lessons about the importance of professionalism and discipline in software development over the years since Windows 3.x and 98 came out, they have learned it the hard way and they seem to be learning mostly by falling on their faces.
</rant>

Re:Rich man's GED (1)

wirelessbuzzers (552513) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456043)

This isn't out of the blue. He's speaking at Harvard commencement, and commencement speakers get honorary degrees. That's just how it works; refusing the degree would be a slap in the face.

Asking him to speak at commencement is more than just a stamp of approval: he's giving the last official speech to Harvard graduates before they leave the university. That's not only a big honor, it's a chance to make a difference to a generation of graduates.

Re:Rich man's GED (5, Insightful)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456443)

Why does there seem to be such a big hatred for college degrees here on slashdot? I'm not trying to flamebait or anything, but it seems that every time there is a story about college (especially computer science programs), there's always a bunch of people who chime in on how a degree is useless.

It's not useless. Most companies require it for you to be able to work for them. A college degree (earned, not necessarily honorary) is valuable in that it shows that you can dedicate yourself to something and accomplish it. Also, for most people it's the first time they are on their own to figure out their own lives. At least for me, the life experiences during college are more valuable than the actual education. The college experience can be invaluable for discovering yourself and finding out how you want to live the rest of your life.

Relevant anecdote (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18455377)

It was the holiday season. She and her husband had decided to attend a performance of King Lear. It was their first night out together in months. During the second act one of the performers became ill. The manager of the theater walked onto the stage, and asked, "Is there a doctor in the house?" Her husband stood up, and shouted, "I have an honorary degree from Anderson College!" It was at that moment when she decided not to get him anything for Christmas.

--Snoopy

Already has several others (4, Informative)

Cocoshimmy (933014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455379)

Bill Gates has already received honorary degrees from several other institutions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gates#Awards_and _recognition [wikipedia.org]

Yawn!!!

Re:Already has several others (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18455597)

Huhuh, huhuh, you said, "institution". Huhuh, huhuh. Check this out.

Internet Degrees (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455619)

Maybe he got this one on the web. You know the ones, "no prior study required, degree based on your current achievements, just give us all your personal details and and send in $100".

Re:Already has several others (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455657)

Yawn!!!


That's probably what I'd do at the commencement - read his book and heard his many interviews - it's discouraging that such a top figure in computing really never had anything inspirational to say - at least pertaining the field.

Anybody else feel the same way? I mean, he's an okay speaker but not really that interesting.

Re:Already has several others (3, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455783)

it's discouraging that such a top figure in computing really never had anything inspirational to say - at least pertaining the field.
Gates' major achievements are as a businessman, not as a computer scientist. Not saying that he's stupid in that area; quite the opposite (e.g. given the speed he apparently designed MS BASIC with, he clearly has skill). However, he didn't actually invent BASIC (as a language) or even write MS-DOS originally. On the other hand, who can deny that he's a very skilled businessman?

huh? (4, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455383)

It's hard to guess if Gates, the wealthiest person in the world and co-founder of a company that brought in $44 billion in revenue last year, cares.

Well, he certainly must care, as he's obviously not doing it for the money.

Inside BillG's head before the ceremony starts: (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455409)

"Suckers!"

Re:Inside BillG's head before the ceremony starts: (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18455747)

No. It's: "Eeeexellent...".

Re:huh? (2, Insightful)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455459)

Honorary degrees are never awarded to anyone with any likelihood of having a job interview or seeking a teaching or research job.

Re:huh? (1)

eric76 (679787) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455607)

Honorary degrees are never awarded to anyone with any likelihood of having a job interview or seeking a teaching or research job.

Never?

Then why do they typically specify "earned degrees" in the position announcements?

Is Harvard doing it for the money? (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455475)

Maybe I'm cynical, but Gates isn't getting any younger or any poorer and the $22 billion endowment Harvard has doesn't mean they would turn down a "1% to my beloved alma mater" line item in his will.

Re:huh? (1)

hackathology (1079199) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456371)

Absolutely agree to this. Money can't buy everything and now no one dares to say bill gates is without a degree. :)

how good a programmer is he, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18455389)

his company makes him seem like an asshole, but i have the impression he was/is actually very good.

Re:how good a programmer is he, really? (2, Interesting)

Paolo DF (849424) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455567)

I don't think so.
Recently somewhere I read that there was a 'driving game' in some msdos distribution, and that it was awful (at best). Well, BillyG thought it was good enough to stamp his name in the credits for programming.

Re:how good a programmer is he, really? (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455603)

It's MS-DOS. You don't really expect MS-DOS to run a driving game as realistic as, say, Initial D, do you?

Re:how good a programmer is he, really? (1)

Paolo DF (849424) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455703)

Well, Pole Position was extremely realistic at that time.
please see also my next post.

Re:how good a programmer is he, really? (1)

lord_mike (567148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456399)

Maybe I'm just an old timer, but Pole Position still is very realistic to me...

Thanks,

Mike

Re:how good a programmer is he, really? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455609)

IIRC it was an OpenGL based game that was included with Windows 95, it was on the CD but not listed in the add/remove programs, or windows install options... Kind of like that Weezer AVI file...

Re:how good a programmer is he, really? (1)

Paolo DF (849424) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455679)

I'm back: this is the link
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DONKEY.BAS [wikipedia.org]
Now, it was 1981 and, well, Atari was doing just a little little little better than this, with very very very less-powerful machines, you know? ;-)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:A2600_Pole_Posi tion.png [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:A2600_Breakout. png [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:A2600_Space_Inv aders.png [wikipedia.org]

Re:how good a programmer is he, really? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456227)

Okay, I was thinking of something different, and more recent.. I remember the game on the win95 cd that I referenced.. didn't know about donkey. :)

At least Bill Gates married a programmer (1)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455811)

Remember Microsoft Bob [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:how good a programmer is he, really? (2, Informative)

lord_mike (567148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456415)

Well, he and Allen wrote BASIC for the MITS Altair 8800 by scratch on an emulator and cross-assembler with no documentation to go by.

But, from what I understand, Gates was the Steve Jobs of Microsoft, while Paul Allen was the Steve Wozniak. Gates took care of the business and marketing, mostly, while Paul did most of the coding.

Thanks,

Mike

An honorary degree (4, Funny)

bunbuntheminilop (935594) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455395)

doesn't count! He'll never be able to get a CS job with that!

Re:An honorary degree (5, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455799)

He'll never be able to get a CS job with that!
No, but he's one of the few people who might conceivably be able to meet such job requirements as "Window Vista (5 years experience)"...

Programming Whizz? (1, Troll)

Demena (966987) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455397)

Oh! Please! If he was one Windows would have been better. THe idea that you would compliment him on his programming is offensive to those that do program. Did you ever see any of his code?

Re:Programming Whizz? (1)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455549)

Bill Gates' programming has nothing to do with how good Windows is. I don't think any of his code has been included in a released product since 1989 at the latest.

Re:Programming Whizz? (1)

BlueTrin (683373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455573)

What about you ? Did you see any of his code ?

Re:Programming Whizz? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18455729)

So what are you saying? with a real degree windows would have been constantly bogged down to perfection instead of slapped together as cheaply as possible to turn a buck?

It does present an interesting question. Is the reason no one can seem to beat Microsoft simply because of the lack of degree/education places Gates on a different playing field? Could it be that Microsoft not only plays dirty but by a different set of rules all together? Maybe someone should get some poker playing dropouts to form an OSS company and push the software before it is ready and see how well it does with competing against MS. Granted the industry has changes some since they got thier start.

Wouldn't that be the irony of it all to end all. Failing to compete with or topple the software giant because your company is too intelligent?

Re:Programming Whizz? (2, Funny)

AnotherUsername (966110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455735)

You've seen his code? I think we have a problem here...

Gaining unauthorized access to code is a violation of the DCMA. Please turn yourself in to your local police station and await charges there. I believe the RIAA wants in on this one, too.

Re:Programming Whizz? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18455949)

WFT is the DCMA?

Not a doctorate? (2, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455419)

I though that was the usual honourary gift to the successful.

With those credentials (5, Funny)

joeflies (529536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455423)

now maybe he could get past the resume screeners and get a job at Google? It's good to see him do something with his life now.

Re:With those credentials (2, Funny)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455739)

now maybe he could get past the resume screeners and get a job at Google?
I think wikepedia suits his qualifications [typepad.com] better.

frankly, (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18455425)

who gives a flying fuck?

Programming whiz? (-1, Troll)

malkir (1031750) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455429)

Read: programming thief

Re:Programming whiz? (-1, Troll)

malkir (1031750) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455531)

Troll? Fuck you. [earthlink.net]

Honorary licenses (5, Funny)

owlman17 (871857) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455443)

In other news, Harvard University has just been granted 10,000 honorary Vista licenses and 10,000 Office 2k7 licenses...

degree is done, man (5, Funny)

pchan- (118053) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455453)

Finally his parents will get off his back to go back to school and do something with his life!

"programming whiz"? (1, Insightful)

nyet (19118) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455467)

Hardly. He was just the whiny wannabe PHB who wanted to get paid. Allen did all the work originally; the rest was ripped from Gary Kildall (RIP).

Re:"programming whiz"? (4, Funny)

WaZiX (766733) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455585)

Bullshit, he wrote Clippy!

Re:"programming whiz"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18455743)

oh, if i could only moderate...

And his next degree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18455487)

Next he will become an honorary East Indian.

Let us mod submitter blurbs. (1, Insightful)

Jartan (219704) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455491)

The submitter blurbs have always been horrible but calling Gates a programming whiz really takes the cake on the worst ones I've seen recently.

Re:Let us mod submitter blurbs. (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455529)

Huh? I heard from many people that Gates was a good programmer way back in the 1970s.

Re:Let us mod submitter blurbs. (1)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455561)

I'm willing to accept the assertion that he knows how to program. But I think we had all best withhold proclaiming Mr Gates a "whiz" until we see his CVS check-ins.

Re:Let us mod submitter blurbs. (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455627)

It's not all that different to Linus' code. Yes, he created the Linux kernel. Yes, he did a great thing. I would think he is far from a "whiz programmer" (whatever that is) though. Linus, like Bill, is great at selling a product and motivating others to do the work. The only real difference is that Bill wanted to cash in. BTW I am not a WindowsFanBoi; I am typing this on a Fedora box and avoid MS products with a passion. If anything, Bill IS a whiz because he managed to fool almost the entire world.

Re:Let us mod submitter blurbs. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455765)

I dunno. Linus had done some good patches for the Gnome project. I'm not sure if they did anything with them though. according to the source, it supposedly fix quite a few things and made it run faster.

Re:Let us mod submitter blurbs. (1)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456247)

The stories about his programming escapades are quite epic. He supposedly wrote a BASIC interpreter on a plane once, on the way to a presentation. The story goes that he forgot to write a BASIC interpreter, so he hammered one out on the plane without any testing or debugging, and it magically worked when the presentation was given. He wrote all kinds of interfaces and adapters back when he was a code monkey. It's just that he has been in a primarily administrative position for over twenty years, and hasn't coded much.

Good for him (-1, Flamebait)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455575)

Gates will join the ranks of other honorable Harvard grads:
Theodore Kaczynski (unibomber)
Jeffrey Skilling (corporate criminal)
Lawrence Summers (world bank neoliberal, economic neoimperialist)
Jack Valenti (MPAA bully)
Henry Kissinger (war criminal)
Robert McNamara (war criminal)
George W. Bush (war criminal)
Alberto Gonzales (war criminal)
Barack Obam<i>Iran</i> (wanna be war criminal)
Alan Dershowitz (apologist for Israel's war crimes)
Charles Murray (right wing pseudoscientist)
Ted "series of tubes" Stevens
Antonin Scalia (third branch of the Republican party)

but then again, Harvard also produced:
Russ Feingold (the only Senator to vote against the PAT RIOT act)
Ralph Nader (the best alternative to corporate rule we've had over the past 20 years)
Irene Khan (Secretary General of Amnesty International)
Samuel Adams (held a nice tea party)
Alfred Kinsey (dared to study sex)
James D. Watson (DNA!)
EO Wilson (sociobiology)
William S. Burroughs (digg the words, man)
Marvin Minsky (managed to do something useful with AI)
Daniel Ellsberg (exposed the Viet Nam war from the inside)
Edward Said (tells the trust about Palestine)
Paul Farmer (tireless humanitarian MD)
Al Franken (makes fun of the war criminals)
Paul Graham (hacker and painter)
Robert Tappan Morris (hey! the worm was a neat proof of concept!)
Helen Keller (deafblind radical iww)
Tim O'Reilly (probably the reason you know anything about software)
Richard Stallman (our prophet)
Henry David Thoreau (civilly disobedient)

and of course....
Natalie Portman (hot grits!)

(I'm sure I left plenty of interesting folk off either list, but I don't know everyone who went to Harvard ;-) )

Re:Good for him (1, Flamebait)

belmolis (702863) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455659)

I think you've swapped Dershowitz and Said. Said's academic claim to fame was his stupid book on Orientalism, which revealed his ignorance of the history and scholarship of the Arab world. His political claim to fame was his defense of terrorism and bigotry. Dershowitz on the other hand is a distinguished civil libertarian as well as one who has told the truth about Arab bigotry and terrorism and has defended the only free, democratic country in the Middle East.

Nader is a curious case. He did indeed do some great work in exposing corporate misbehaviour, but I lost respect for him when his hopeless runs for President took votes away from the Democratic candidates that might have saved us from Bush.

Re:Good for him (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455755)

I think you labeled some things backwards. Half of the people haven't even been charged with a crime in a competent court let alone convicted. And when I say competent, I mean one with jurisdiction not some protest court trying to make a political argument.

Or is this just one of those just for fun things the other generations end up seeing and take for fact?

Re:Good for him (2, Insightful)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455805)

Half of the people haven't even been charged with a crime in a competent court let alone convicted.

It's nice that you assume that the Administration is innocent until proven guilty. I just wish they would return the favor and practice due process with their victims instead of engaging in rendition, torture, indefinite detention, disappearances, and etc all before any legal trial. I'd rather live in a republic than a junta.

Re:Good for him (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456195)

I never said anything about the administration. You listed people outside this administration too. And I don't speak for them either. But if it is due process you are looking for, due process is what they are giving. It just isn't the same due process your or I would expect.

I'm going to go on a limb here and assume you are talking about the enemy combatant issue. There is a process for review that determines if they are who we think they are, it determines if the are enemy combatants in accordance with the Geneva conventions that we are signatory to, And if they are not, then they go threw the regular criminal justice system. IF they are, then they are treated as such according to the same treaty that we are a signatory too. And in case your wondering, We didn't sign onto the last version or two.

Due process is guaranteed in the constitution. However, nowhere does it define what that due process is. And the idea of due process today is definitely different then when the constitution was made and during our history in between. The constitution left it up to the courts and congress to determine how due process is defined. Basically, anything congress employ though regular law could become due process at any time. There are some exceptions were it might infringe upon other rights protected by the constitution.

You may not like any redefinition of due process. You may not like the suspension of habeas corpus. But it is legal and the way the country was set up to run. Your statement of I just wish they would return the favor and practice due process with their victims Would be more accurate if it said something to the effect of I just wish they would return the favor and practice the same due process they enjoy with their victims.

However, I'm not here to argue on their behalf or start another war of words over something that has been settled time and time again. I could if you wish, change your list to more accurately describe a centralist/moderate view instead of a hard sided political one if you wish. I have no problem calling a spade a spade (which is a reference to a card game- no racial inference at all). But I object falsities to further a political point. If you cannot win support on the truth then you deserve no support. And yes, I'm not limiting this to supporters on the democrat or republican sides or to politics in general. A lie is a lie without regard to who told it or why it was told. IF you cannot say anything without concocting something then do exactly that: not say anything at all.

Re:Good for him (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456163)

Yup. Saddam was also reelected with a 98% majority before US invaded.
The fact that you are not convicted is not a case you are not guilty.
Enron's ex-CEO's conviction was overturned once he died between appeals.
Does that mean he was as innocent as a feather?
Does it mean all the people who he led down the drain were figments of their imaginations?
Is lying to your own people about reasons for a war and then justifying it with a lame excuse OK for you?
And don't go countering "oh, so removing a dictator is not good?" , because SA has a king, who is not even elected. Did we do a "regime-change?"
Heck closer, NKorea has known dictator. What did we do to him? Paid him $25 million to "probably" destroy his nukes....

Re:Good for him (1)

welshsocialist (542986) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456023)

You forgot the Kennedys. Joe Kennedy Sr, Joe Jr, JFK, RFK, and EMK attended the college at some point in their lives.

you forgot (1)

Punch-Drunk Slob (973904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456393)

conan o'brien

To be fair (1)

Mr. Lwanga (872401) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455591)

Did it come with an overly restrictive EULA?

Degrees are overrated... Skills are important! (5, Insightful)

gavink42 (1000674) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455599)

Sure, going to college for 4 (or more) years can teach a person some good information. But the skills learned from life experience are usually much more important!

I have no degree but take college courses (adult continuing education) that interest me. At some point in most of them, the prof will usually add a remark like: "...but of course we know that's not how it works in the real world."

I'm not saying that they're teaching the wrong things in college, just that the average 18 year old will be learning mostly best-case theory. Most of the actual skills are learned during the early years in the workplace.

Seems like it would be a better process to work in your desired field for a few years, then go for the degree. Or, at least participate heavily in an apprentice program. But I do realize that some career fields are not compatible with this paragraph.

Re:Degrees are overrated... Skills are important! (2, Interesting)

sarahbau (692647) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455713)

Seems like it would be a better process to work in your desired field for a few years, then go for the degree.
I originally dropped out of college, and worked a few jobs somewhat in my field, but when I wanted to move into anything more, I always got responses like "while your resume shows a lot of the experience we're looking for, you don't have a degree." I wouldn't even get interviews most of the time, just because I didn't have a piece of paper that said I know how to learn. It didn't matter that I had 2-3 times the experience they were looking for. So I decided to go back to school. Now that I'm more mature, and more experienced, I think I'm getting more out of school than I would have if I had stayed in the first time around.

Re:Degrees are overrated... Skills are important! (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455753)

I couldn't agree with you more. When I was 17, I dropped out of high school (right before Senior year started). I was tired of the bullshit and unchallenged. I was working part-time at a web design firm as their sole Sysadmin (desktops and servers). 7 years later (I turned 24 last November) I'm running a hosting division at a large consulting company, managing a team of people and 1000s of servers (and a network infrastructure most lust after). I have no certs and no college degree (although I have some gen. ed. credit as well as credit towards an Aviation degree I'm doing for fun) and learned everything I know from books, trial and error, and a series of mentors.

Today, family and friends ask me to not mention any of this to their kids finishing high school/starting college. Go figure.

Re:Degrees are overrated... Skills are important! (4, Insightful)

drsquare (530038) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455991)

Today, family and friends ask me to not mention any of this to their kids finishing high school/starting college.
That's because nearly all dropouts end up working deadend menial jobs their entire lives.

It's not the dot-com era anymore, companies aren't going to hire 17 year old dropouts as sysadmins. Your case was a complete one off, you may as well advise people to buy lottery tickets for a living.

Re:Degrees are overrated... Skills are important! (4, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456359)

What skills are involved in admining boxes?

Things I learned in college

1. algebra
2. calculus
3. data structures
4. algorithms [sorting, searching, etc]
5. compiler theory
6. numerical analysis
7. and a host of practical courses, etc.

And what do I do for a living? Software developer in the field of cryptography. So I need the math, algorithms, etc, etc. Yeah, granted I too taught myself a lot of my skills [like crypto], but to say college was a total waste because I had to sit through a "intro to C" class is ignorant.

Maybe if you had a job that required talent you'd be talking differently. I'm sorry, but setting up servers, changing network settings, etc, isn't exactly a skilled labour. I mean it's a job, but don't pretend you're some tech god because you can make Apache start and host a page.

Sorry for knocking you off your high horse, but you're advice is ignorant and misleading.

Tom

Re:Degrees are overrated... Skills are important! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18455913)

People who never went to university almost invariably always miss the point. You do not go to a challenging school to learn direct skills you would need to do any particular job, and that is true even for ultra specialist disciplines like a pediatrics.

It is comparable to saying why go to a gym and work out every other day, lifting weights in some prescribed motion and good form, when you know that loading up a truck will never use those same motions.

Replace muscle above with brain and you get the idea. You go to a challenging school to do gymnastics of the brain, to learn to think, to learn to do your own research, to discover, to grow, to become better than just the skills a corporation may want today.

I went for a degree in pure math, and subsequently masters in pure math as well. Will I ever actually use any of that skill in my job (software developer)? Not in a million years. But, did I ever encounter a problem that I felt my brain just wasn't ready to cope with and could not think of a solution in my daily job? No, never. Actually, programming itself is absolutely un-challenging compared to math study.

Re:Degrees are overrated... Skills are important! (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455975)

Seems like it would be a better process to work in your desired field for a few years, then go for the degree.
How do you get the job without a degree?

Re:Degrees are overrated... Skills are important! (1)

atamyrat (980611) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456171)

Seems like it would be a better process to work in your desired field for a few years, then go for the degree.
We tried this, and it does not work.

Few years ago, education system in our country changed. Students after graduating from high school had to work for 2 years in order to be eligible for college application. Exteremely low rate of students getting job without degree resulted to de-motivation of high-schoolers. Who would want to study if you're not eligible for college application and it's so hard to get job?

Thank god they removed that restriction this year.

Yep, he earned it, I'd say. (4, Insightful)

Rob Bos (3399) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455655)

Love or hate the guy, he's certainly earned degree equivalency. Business Administration, most likely; they said in the article that Harvard doesn't announce which subject in advance.

If it's computing science, then I'd probably have a few words to say.

Man thats going to be dull... (4, Funny)

Upaut (670171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455673)

At Bently College, when we gave Jerry from "Ben and Jerry's" ice cream and honorary degree, he brought with him a truck of free ice cream. So much so that every student and proffessor willing had a freezer stuffed with the stuff afterwards... What will Gates do, give all the students copies of WIndows Vista? Thats a bit like someone dousing the students with STD infected blood...

Now who should get an honorary Harvard degree is Hugh Heffneir, for his buisness empire... Maybe he would pass the bunnies around...

Re:Man thats going to be dull... (2, Funny)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455761)

How choice that you mention dousing students with STD infected blood and passing the playboy bunnies around in the same post. Me thinks you haven't thought your cunning plan all the way through =)

You see? That's what's wrong with society today.. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18455677)

... Degrees being handed out without the work! Like it's... an entitlement or something...

I say make him sit through those droning lectures! Force him through those assignments that will actually make him a decent programmer.

This just cheapens the BS degree for everyone else...

Okay, so it took me 10 years to get my degree (interrupted by a military stint, working full time, getting married and having 4 kids under 8 by the time I finished up)

I just think we'd be denying Bill a proper sense of accomplishment if he received it without all the work. Wouldn't that truly put hair on his chest? (which he probably needs, too. :-) )

Re:You see? That's what's wrong with society today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18455839)

This just cheapens the BS degree for everyone else...
It's an honorary degree, numnuts.

Re:You see? That's what's wrong with society today (1)

HCLogo (1077495) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455963)

This just cheapens the BS degree for everyone else
Absolutely true!
What about all the people who put in long hours and hard work EARNING their degree?
I'll admit that Mr. Gates is a successful man, but I'd be willing to bet that he couldn't make it through a degree program the way the rest of us would have to.

But, can he refuse it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18455865)

That would be kewl....

What it also says (5, Insightful)

Swift2001 (874553) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455889)

"We notice you've made a lot of money and are therefore wise. We also notice you're not getting any younger, and you're giving away money. If you see anything you'd like to endow, please be in touch."

it's a democratic world we live in.. (1)

necromcr (836137) | more than 7 years ago | (#18455977)

..and the money can buy everything.. Surely, no money was delivered Harward in any way from Bill Gates.

The writeup is right ! (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456001)

He doesn't need it for his resume. Last I heard Mr Gates had started his own company.

In which field? (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456031)

An honorary degree in "programming whiz"/CS, business/economics or what he actually enroled for, law?

Bill should get a real degree in philospophy... (3, Funny)

cute-boy (62961) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456061)



Then maybe he'd have a better understanding of Ethics.

-R

Thanks Bill for the nice building (4, Interesting)

Framboise (521772) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456067)

From this page everything becomes limpid: http://www.siel.harvard.edu/2003/about/tour/classr ooms/maxw.jsp [harvard.edu] : "The Maxwell Dworkin building was built with funds donated by Microsoft Chairman William H. Gates III and Microsoft President Steven A. Ballmer, both members of the Class of 1977, in memory of their mothers, Mary Maxwell Gates and Beatrice Dworkin Ballmer. Maxwell Dworkin building opened in 1999 and, with its extensive office and laboratory space, will allow Harvard to double the size of its computer science faculty over the next several years."

This is gonna ruin his SPAM joke. (3, Funny)

wirelessbuzzers (552513) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456069)

Bill gates, in a speech about fighting SPAM:

An important thing about SPAM, if you're trying to filter it out, is that it's usually poorly targeted.
(Slide of Bill Gates' inbox comes up, showing "Ref1nance your morgage!").

However, sometimes they hit just by random chance.
(Next message in inbox is about "U.N.I.V.E.R.S.I.T.Y.D.I.P.L.O.M.A.S").

Honorary Degrees Outside Commencement (2, Insightful)

RWarrior(fobw) (448405) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456093)

Now if you really want to be somebody, get an honorary degree from Harvard outside of normal commencement exercises. You join this list of luminaries (plus a few others nobody born after World War II has heard of):
  • George Washington
  • Marquis de Lafyette
  • James Monroe
  • Andrew Jackson
  • Winston Churchill
  • Nelson Mandela
That's real company.

The "programming whiz" ha ha ha ha (0, Flamebait)

gig (78408) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456141)

> But the programming whiz who once dropped out of Harvard will likely feel some sense of satisfaction.

The "programming whiz" part of Bill Gates resume is pure padding.

Just great (1)

CriminalNerd (882826) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456175)

Just great...now asian parents all over the world have another reason to push their kids overseas into the American education system...

"Because the world's richest man also got a degree from Harvard."

Watch as cheating on the SATs rises exponentially from South-Eastern Asia.

Most dishonorable honorary unaccredited degree (0)

mrnick (108356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456267)

Even though it's an honorary degree, a nice way of saying a degree you did not really earn, I don't think he deserves even that. To me he will be the most contributing factor in stifling technology in human history. An being such I don't think he should receive any fame, he has assured his place in history in the infamous catalog and that's where he belongs.

The one thing good about him getting it from Harvard is that Harvard is not an accredited university. So, to some point this is fitting that at least he doesn't have an accredited degree. I'm sure he could have gave the University of Phoenix some Vista licenses and gotten a degree from there.

Nick Powers

Ethics? (1)

TheGreatDonkey (779189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18456297)

Yet further proof that business ethics is an oxymoron, and one that business schools are at best one to pay lip service to? It would have been a more powerful statement had they considered him and refused to give him a degree based on how he has profited on his organization's unethical accomplishments. Not that I expect any other publicly traded company to be in it for the good will of the people, but Microsoft has certainly been rather flagrant about its practices. Apparently these are the values that Harvard holds up for all of its students to esteem to achieve.

My company was recently found guilty of anti-competitive behavior, and now Europe is currently, and has been, trying to impose penalties on my companies behavior. Oh, thanks for the honorary degree Harvard.
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