Three decades after dropping out from the elite Harvard University, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, 51, is to return to Boston for a prestigious Harvard degree.
The honorary doctorate is to be presented at school graduation ceremonies in June.
Gates was only 19 when he threw in the towel on his mathematics studies at Harvard. He returned to the West Coast, where he and several friends founded the software company Microsoft.
The university on Friday said Gates was a huge friend of humanity who had long since earned the degree. Gates and his wife Melinda set up a $33-billion foundation in 2000 to support research into the prevention of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS as well as measures against hunger and poverty.
Gates began his studies at Harvard in 1977 and has agreed to accept the degree on the 30th anniversary of the event, the university said.
Gates grew up in Seattle and was interested in mathematics from boyhood. He taught himself computer programming as a schoolboy. At Harvard, he met his later business partner Steven Ballmer. After leaving Harvard, he and his school friend Paul Allen developed a new version of the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer.