Harvard dropout and Facebook founder mark Zuckerberg backs insurgent for university role | Tech News

Harvard dropout and Facebook founder mark Zuckerberg backs insurgent for university role

A Harvard College graduate trying to win a seat on a prestigious alumni council won backing from one of the school’s most famous dropouts: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

By:BLOOMBERG
| Updated on: Jan 27 2024, 17:30 IST
Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg backs Harvard graduate Sam Lessin in his campaign for a seat on the university's Board of Overseer (AP)
Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg backs Harvard graduate Sam Lessin in his campaign for a seat on the university's Board of Overseer (AP)

A Harvard College graduate trying to win a seat on a prestigious alumni council won backing from one of the school's most famous dropouts: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Sam Lessin, a venture capitalist who once worked at Zuckerberg's social media giant, began campaigning last month for the Board of Overseers — a group that counsels university leadership on plans, priorities and strategic initiatives. Lessin said Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, would join him on a Zoom call Friday to discuss his effort to get on the overseers ballot as a write-in candidate. 

“In light of the evolving situation on Harvard's campus and the administration's abysmal response, I want to join the Harvard Board of Overseers to help Harvard move forward,” Lessin wrote on LinkedIn.

Chan and Zuckerberg are some of the biggest donors in Harvard's history. The couple's philanthropy pledged $500 million to Harvard in 2021 to found an artificial intelligence institute. Zuckerberg has a net worth of about $141 billion, making him the world's fifth-richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.  

Harvard has been reeling from allegations of rising antisemitism on campus in the wake of Hamas's Oct. 7 attack on Israel. The uproar has spurred a government investigation and two congressional probes while also prompting alumni and major donors to pause contributions. Billionaire investor Bill Ackman, a Harvard graduate, is backing another slate of candidates who want to be on the overseers ballot. 

The controversy has hardly abated since the resignation earlier this month of President Claudine Gay, who drew criticism for her response to antisemitism at Harvard and was also under pressure from accusations of plagiarism. In addition, alumni and donors have been critical of Harvard Corp., the school's highest governing board, which is led by Penny Pritzker, a former US commerce secretary.

Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to start Facebook, whose parent company is now known as Meta Platforms Inc. Chan graduated in 2007, according to her LinkedIn profile. 

Lessin, who graduated from Harvard in 2005, said he was running “to help address glaring leadership failures.” Write-in candidates need to get more than 3,000 signatures by the end of January to be included on the spring ballot. 

Also read these top stories today:

Tech is bleeding people! 2024 has already proven to be a difficult year for layoffs. A handful of companies have been making job cuts in recent weeks, bringing uncertainty for workers across industries. Check it all out here

Shocking AI! Fans of Taylor Swift and politicians expressed outrage at AI-generated fake images that went viral on X and were still available on other platforms. One image of the US megastar was seen 47 million times on X, the former Twitter, before it was removed Thursday. Dive in here

OpenAI's AI not lazy anymore? OpenAI introduces GPT-4 Turbo, addressing user concerns about the system's propensity to be "lazy" and leaving tasks incomplete. The OpenAI update promises enhanced performance and wider usability. Know all about the changes here

If you enjoyed reading this article, please forward it to your friends and family.

Follow HT Tech for the latest tech news and reviews , also keep up with us on Whatsapp channel,Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

First Published Date: 26 Jan, 12:14 IST
Tags:
NEXT ARTICLE BEGINS