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Ryan Johnson, Published February 27 2013

VIDEO: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to speak at Concordia

MOORHEAD – Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates will speak on the Concordia College campus in April, President William Craft announced Wednesday.

Gates, 57, will deliver the keynote address on the morning of April 27 as part of the college’s dedication ceremony for the newly renovated Grant Center, which houses the new Offutt School of Business that opened to students last month.

He made his fortune with Microsoft, the software giant he co-founded in 1975 and led as CEO until 2000. Gates still serves as the company’s chairman.

Craft said Gates also has become internationally known for his philanthropic work through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a private foundation he launched in 1994 to help address global challenges in poverty, health care and education.

“In his extraordinary work as an entrepreneur in the digital revolution and in his equally extraordinary philanthropy for the common good, Mr. Gates serves as an exceptional representative of the innovative spirit and dedication to responsible engagement in the world that define the Offutt School of Business and our global liberal arts college as a whole,” he said.

Craft said Concordia landed the big-name speaker through its “network of friends and supporters,” including Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm, whose oil exploration company has a large presence in the western North Dakota Oil Patch. Hamm also serves as a member of the Offutt School of Business Global Leadership Council at Concordia.

Dean Greg Cant said the theme of Gates’ speech is still being worked out through ongoing discussions between the Offutt School of Business and the business magnate’s team. He said the remarks will likely call on the community to look for ways to use the resources and innovations of entrepreneurs to address major challenges.

“In broad parameters, the issues that we believe are going to be approached are really about the important approach to philanthropy and how the actions of the Gates Foundation and other foundations have been the vehicle to drive innovation,” Cant said.

Craft said while on campus, Gates will give an address open to the public and also answer audience questions. He said the college expects “very high demand” to attend the event, which will be in Memorial Auditorium.

More details on the free event, including the schedule for the dedication day and how to get tickets for the speech, will be released March 20 on Concordia’s website at www.ConcordiaCollege.edu/billgates.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan Johnson at (701) 241-5587