Bill and Bill.

Posted on Saturday, April 27th, 2013 by Madeline Johnson

The lights dimmed as the stage lights simultaneously sparkled brighter. As the crowd cheered, William, “Bill”, Craft graced the podium with an introduction speech, which was followed by a couple other speeches from donors. Then Bill Gates entered and the crowd exploded with joyful cheers. Students, faculty, and the community had been waiting for this moment and it finally arrived.

Wikipedia describes Bill Gates as an “American business magnate, investor, programmer, inventor and philanthropist.” From my experience today, I can also say he is such a nice guy or as some of my friends would say, “the man.” My fellow bloggers may describe the event in more detail, but I just want to touch on a few things I really appreciated about the event.

First, Bill Gates drinks diet coke (say whaaa) and was wearing black shoes with navy socks. This was completely irrelevant to his speech, but sometimes when people are successful or famous, it is easy to forget they are human. Bill Gates not only had quirks that showed off his humanity, but he also had a very laid back demeanor  While other speakers stood at the podium, Gates sat in a chair next to President Craft, asking questions from students who were on the stage. I had a wonderful view in the front row, next to blogger Rachel Meier and this is where I was able to note his wardrobe preferences.

Bill Gates is incredible because of his brilliance in computer software, but now he also invests a lot of his time in philanthropy. So, most of his speech focused on his work with global health, especially on the polio vaccine that has been distributed all around the world due to his support.

The three points I took away from his talk were:

1) The opportunities to go out into the world today are greater than ever.

2) In order to improve America’s education system, there needs to be better feedback for teachers.

3) One of the best ways to help the world is through a combination of science and policy work.

Gates has had a huge impact on me. Recently, I have been frustrated with Concordia’s student body because we constantly raise awareness and are quick to criticize, but no one is making a bold move to bring about concrete change. Bill Gates inspired me to make that bold move and at lunch, my friends and I brainstormed about what that should be. Maybe I will try being a Freegan this summer (eating all food for free) or make some of my own clothes. The sky is the limit, but the action must be bold.

photo (18)

Bill has swag. Photo courtesy of Rachel Meier.

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  1. Macaroon says:

    Point number two well taken. Let’s start listening to and valuing teachers.

  2. mjohns65 says:

    Agreed Mac!

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About Madeline Johnson

Junior

Madeline Johnson

Biology/History with a minor in Chemistry

I may have the most generic Scandinavian name but I like to think I’m far from ordinary.

For 20 years of my life, I have rocked the suburbs like Jon Bon Jovi did, except that he was talented (as Ben Folds would say). In high school, I was involved in speech, debate, concert band, marching band, and volunteer work. To this day, I enjoy tossing the Frisbee disc with friends, reading an absurd amount of books, writing poetry and listening excessively to every genre of music excluding country.

At Concordia, I play the flute in the Symphonic Band, play ultimate frisbee, am an orientation leader, am a leader in science academy, work for the admissions office, do biology research, and am working to bring an organization to campus called Girls In Real Life which is meant to improve the self esteem of women everywhere. I also enjoy volunteering at Sanford hospital on the weekends. My majors are biology and history with a minor in chemistry and I will be graduating in 2015. I hope to join the peace corps after college and then attend graduate school for public health and possibly law.

In the future and in the present, my main goal is to make a difference in the world. I believe people are inherently good and I search for the upside in every situation. People have described me as a ray of sunshine, but I’d just say I am an opportunist who believes in love and lifelong happiness.