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Mark Zuckerberg gets his Harvard degree at last

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Harvard's case could impact how US colleges and universities' ensure racial diversity in the future. Source: Brian Snyder/Reuters

The Facebook CEO is back in Harvard, and in his possession is the degree he never received because he famously dropped out to build the social media network, USA College Today reports.

Last Thursday evening, the Ivy League school finally conferred an honorary degree to Zuckerberg, 12 years after one of its most famous students left its leafy campus.

While there, Zuckerberg took time to dispense some sage advice to the new crop of graduates in his commencement speech.

“To keep our society moving forward, we have a generational challenge — to not only create new jobs, but create a renewed sense of purpose,” Zuckerberg told Harvard graduates.

“It’s not enough to have purpose yourself. You also have to create a sense of purpose for others.”

Zuckerberg was referring to the gap between yesterday’s baby boomers and today’s millennials graduating from college to a less prosperous economy. Back in those days, he said, their parents’ ‘purpose’ was their job, church and community.

But that’s not the case today, Zuckerberg says.

“But today, technology and automation are eliminating many jobs. Membership in communities is declining. Many people feel disconnected and depressed and are trying to fill a void.”

The Ivy League institution was where a 19-year-old Zuckerberg and fellow Harvard students started Facebook, a company that is probably the most prominent and profitable online social media service in the world today.

Today, the Facebook chairman, CEO and co-founder has a net worth of US$63.5 billion, according to Forbeswhile Facebook now trades at above US$150/share.

But Zuckerberg and his alma mater did not always have such a glowing relationship. In 2003, The Harvard Crimson reported that the school shut down his “Facemash” program on the basis that he had breached security as well as violated copyrights and privacy.

Facemash had taken photos from the online “facebooks” of Harvard’s nine Houses, put photos of two of the Houses’ residents side by side and asked Facemash users to pick the “hotter” person.

It is known as Facebook’s “precedecessor” due to the similar traits it would later share with what we now know as Facebook, such as the mimicking of people’s physical community as well as their real identities.

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