Friday, July 30, 2010

About Gates Millennium Scholars

I recently wrote about David R. Guzman's views on Apple's lack of a social media presence. I discovered Guzman via LinkedIn (he had posted something in the LinkedIn Answers section on blogging), and I looked at his LinkedIn profile to learn more about him.

As implied previously, Guzman has a blog called Modern Communicator.

Guzman is also involved in an organization called Positive Footprint, which endeavors to influence youth in a positive way.

And, based on his LinkedIn profile, it appears that Guzman is a Gates Millennium Scholar alumnus.

I had never heard of this program, but guessed (correctly) that it resulted from the philanthropy of Bill and Melinda Gates. Here's what the program's all about:

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program (GMS), established in 1999, was initially funded by a $1 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The goal of GMS is to promote academic excellence and to provide an opportunity for outstanding minority students with significant financial need to reach their highest potential by:

* Reducing financial barriers for African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students with high academic and leadership promise who have significant financial need;
* Increasing the representation of these target groups in the disciplines of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health and the sciences, where these groups are severely underrepresented;
* Developing a diversified cadre of future leaders for America by facilitating successful completion of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; and
* Providing seamless support from undergraduate through doctoral programs, for students selected as Gates Millennium Scholars entering target disciplines.

The ironic part of all of this is that the program helps people get bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees - degrees that Gates himself, the Harvard dropout, does not have. However, Gates had advantages growing up that many of the Gates Millennium Scholars did not have, and the program certainly helps those without these advantages to gain an education that helps them to succeed in life.

It's interesting to note that both Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg were college dropouts (from Harvard) who ended up starting wildly successful companies. Steve Jobs was also a dropout (from my alma mater of Reed), but he dropped out in part because he didn't want his parents to waste their money. (See my 2006 post on this.)
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