Tufts University

Patricia Q. Stonesifer

Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow awarded Patricia Q. Stonesifer an honorary degree during the University's 153rd Commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 17, 2009.

[ Biography | Honorary Degree ]

Commencement 2009

Patricia Stonesifer, you have the distinction of having given away more money than any private individual in history. After a very successful career at Microsoft in which you helped launch Encarta and MSNBC, Bill Gates lured you back from Dreamworks to help connect the nation’s public libraries to the Internet. As the founding CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, you oversaw the largest and most closely watched philanthropic start-up in history. You gave true meaning to the statement that every human life has equal value. Under your leadership, the Foundation implemented an ambitious plan to advance global health, development and education. The results have been as noteworthy for their impact as for their scale. Thanks to the Gates Foundation, malaria—one of the great killers of the world’s poor—may soon be eradicated. Under your leadership, the Foundation vaccinated more than 213 million children against a variety of diseases, preventing an estimated 3.4 million deaths in the process. The Gates Millennium Scholarships have brought higher education within reach for tens of thousands of exceptionally talented young people, including many in this audience today. As the new Chair of the Smithsonian, you and a new leadership team are poised to reinvigorate one of America’s great national treasures. Once again, you have seized an opportunity to advance learning for the common good. For your unique contributions to contemporary philanthropy and society, it is our pleasure to present to you the degree of Doctor of Public Service, honoris causa.

Photo by University Photography

This story originally ran on May 17, 2009.