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Duke graduates hear from famed philanthropist Melinda Gates

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DURHAM, N.C. -

Melinda Gates told Duke graduates Sunday they should use new technology to touch the lives of others, including those in the developing world.

"Over the course of your lives, I promise you, you will have many opportunities to use technology to make your world bigger, to meet more different kinds of people and to keep in touch with more of the people you meet," she said.  "I want you to connect because I believe it will inspire you to do something, to make a difference in the world."

Gates received undergraduate and business degrees from Duke and later served as a university trustee. She recalled attending Duke basketball games and spending long nights writing computer code as a student.

She is now co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"The way you communicate is the single biggest difference between you now and me a generation ago," she said.

She noted that smartphones and other technologies are widely used even in a Kenyan slum she visited recently. This makes it possible for Americans to get to know people in other countries more personally.

Gates said that "deep human connection … is not a tool. It's not a means to an end. It is the end -- the purpose and the result of a meaningful life -- and it will inspire the most amazing acts of love, generosity and humanity."

Gates received an honorary degree from her alma mater, joining more than 5,000 others awarded undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in the Spring, September and December commencements. 

 

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