Long before he became the chief executive of a multibillion-dollar company used by people around the world, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was just an eager high school student wearing pajama pants at his New York home, anxiously waiting for college acceptance letters to arrive.
This week, Zuckerberg shared a video on — of all the obvious places — Facebook that showed the moment he found out he got into Harvard University over a decade ago.
Zuckerberg, who famously dropped out of Harvard during his sophomore year and moved to California to build out his social media platform, posted the video a week ahead of Harvard’s commencement.
In a strange twist, the billionaire brainiac is coming back to the school next week, to deliver the graduation speech to this year’s class.
“My dad took this video when I got accepted to Harvard,” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook. “Next week, I’m going back for commencement to get my degree.”
It’s typical for commencement speakers to be given honorary degrees from a school when they attend graduation ceremonies.
The video shows Zuckerberg in his pajamas, sitting at the edge of his bed and staring into the glare of his computer screen, as he prepares to open an e-mail from Harvard.
“Yay,” Zuckerberg says in a monotone voice, perhaps in shock, when he finds out he got in. “I got accepted.”
His father then chimes in with a bit more excitement.
“Are you serious!?” he says. “All right! Yes! Great.”
A little later on, Zuckerberg does a fist pump before turning back to his computer and apparently typing a flurry of AOL instant messages.
The video had been viewed more than 4 million times by Friday morning. Zuckerberg spent time answering questions and comments that people posted beneath it.
“Very roundabout way to avoid Harvard’s core curriculum requirements,” one person joked, referencing Zuckerberg’s ability to leave the school but come back and get a free degree.
“That was definitely not my plan,” Zuckerberg replied. “Although before I went to college, my mom bet me I’d drop out and my younger sister bet me she’d finish college before me. I bet them I’d get a degree. Now, I suppose the cycle is complete.”
When someone else asked Zuckerberg if his parents would be at Harvard’s commencement when he delivers his address, he said they would get a chance to see him finally finish what he had started as a young man.
“Oh, they’ll be there,” he said. “They’ve been waiting for me to get a degree for a long time.”Steve Annear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.