Twelve years after famously dropping out to build Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg went back and got an honorary degree at Harvard University, addressing the 2017 graduates with a speech about the power to change the world and the importance of having "a sense of purpose."
“You are graduating into a world that needs purpose, and it’s up to you to create it,” Zuckerberg said, warning against cynicism. In his talk, he recognized numerous students who have already had significant personal achievements.
Zuckerberg ended by reciting part of a Jewish prayer for healing that he says he sings to his baby daughter.
Two days ago, he visited his old dorm room.
Related: Read the full text of Mark Zuckerberg's Harvard graduation speech
Zuckerberg isn't the only famous #Harvard17 speaker
Harvard's 2017 graduates were treated to speeches from other high-profile people:
Vice President Joe Biden
Biden gave an impassioned Class Day speech on Wednesday, urging grads to overcome apathy in a time of "upheaval."
Secretary of State John Kerry
Kerry was U.S. secretary of state, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts and the 2004 Democratic candidate for president -- and he addressed Harvard's Kennedy School of Government grads. Talking about his advice for pursing a life of public service, he quipped, "I used to say, either run for office or get a degree from Harvard Kennedy School. With this White House I'd say, buy Rosetta Stone and learn Russian."
Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates
Yates, a former acting U.S. attorney general who was fired by President Trump, shared with Harvard Law School her perspective on what happened when Trump signed a controversial executive order banning travel from seven Muslim countries -- and she decided not to uphold it. She spoke about "conscience" and risk, declaring, “Doing your job means you are not simply a reflection of someone else’s talents or opinions. You’re the person to whom a leader turns when he or she needs to hear the truth.”
James Earl Jones
Receiving an honorary degree -- on the 40th anniversary of the release of Star Wars -- James Earl Jones told the grads, "May the Force be with you."
This story originally appeared on the USA TODAY College blog, a news source produced for college students by student journalists. The blog closed in September of 2017.
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