UW Today

This is an archived article.

September 15, 2008

Freshman Convocation features Bill Gates as speaker

News and Information

Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will be the featured speaker at the University of Washington’s 25th Annual Freshman Convocation, which begins at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 21 in the Bank of America Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

Gates will be awarded an honorary doctorate at the ceremony. He is widely recognized as one of the most influential people of the century.

The UW also will award an honorary doctorate to his father, Bill Gates Sr., who has been a member of the UW Board of Regents since 1997 and is also a co-chair of the University of Washington foundation. Gates holds both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from the UW. Both are being recognized for their philanthropic work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Melinda French Gates also has been awarded an honorary degree but is unable to attend the ceremony.

About 7,000 people are expected to attend this event (all available tickets have been distributed), which welcomes the entering class. Convocation officially marks the beginning of the academic year, with classes starting Sept. 24. The event will be broadcast live on UWTV and also will be available at http://www.uwtv.org/.

The academic procession will be led by Ronald M. Moore, professor of philosophy and university marshal, carrying the university mace. President Mark A. Emmert, members of the Board of Regents, deans, vice presidents, student leaders and recent faculty recipients of outstanding teaching awards, among others, will march in the procession. The convocation will also feature music by the University Wind Ensemble.

Following the convocation President Emmert will host the annual President’s Picnic on the Rainier Vista lawn.

Preliminary figures suggest the UW freshman class will include about 5,500 students and may well be among the most diverse freshman classes ever at the university, with an impressive academic profile.

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Note: The media entrance is at the northwest corner of the pavilion, just off Montlake Boulevard.