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Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, announced to speak at the Cambridge Union as recipient of the 2019 Professor Hawking Fellowship

The world-famous entrepreneur, philanthropist, author and humanitarian will speak at the Union at the beginning of Michaelmas Term

Bill Gates KBE has been announced as the recipient of the 2019 Professor Hawking Fellowship, scheduled to deliver his Fellowship Lecture at the Cambridge Union on October 7th, 2019.

Gates' achievements since founding Microsoft in 1974 have landed him the position of second richest man in the world on Forbes' Rich List. Through charitable endeavours such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates has also gained global notoriety for his philanthropy – launching The Giving Pledge with Warren Buffet in 2009, thereby promising to give at least 50 per cent of his wealth to charity and encouraging other billionaires to do the same.

As one of the architects of the personal computer revolution, Bill Gates ranks amongst the most notable speakers the Cambridge Union has ever hosted. Indeed, Netflix have recently announced a three-part documentary on the business tycoon to be launched this September.

Of the Professor Hawking Fellowship, and Bill Gates KBE himself, the Union said:

'The Professor Hawking Fellowship was founded by the Cambridge Union Society in 2017 and named in honour of Professor Stephen Hawking. The Fellowship recognises Professor Hawking’s contribution to Cambridge in a number of ways, particularly to academia and the awareness of disability rights. Professor Hawking delivered the Inaugural Fellowship Lecture on 23rd November 2017. Sadly, this was to be one of his last public appearances. The Fellowship is awarded to an individual who is distinguished in the STEM fields and who has made a historic and/or significant contribution to social discourse in the STEM fields.

'The Professor Hawking Fellowship Committee is delighted to announce that Mr Bill Gates KBE is the recipient of the 2019 Professor Hawking Fellowship. Mr Gates will be delivering the Fellowship lecture on the 7th of October 2019. The lecture will be hosted in the historic Cambridge Union Society Debating Chamber and will be open to all members of the Cambridge Union. A recording of the lecture will be made available online in due course. Further details will be made available to members in due course.

'The Cambridge Union Society’s Chair of Trustees, The Rt Hon. the Lord Smith of Finsbury, comments: "The Cambridge Union’s Hawking Fellowship gives us the opportunity to honour those who have changed the world through the application of science and technology. No one could better fit this description than Bill Gates, who already has close connections with Cambridge, and we’re honoured to be welcoming him at the start of this new term.”

'The Cambridge Union Society’s President, Ms. Rachel Tustin, remarked: “We are incredibly delighted and honoured to announce that Bill Gates will be our 2019 Hawking Fellow. He is eminently deserving of this accolade, both in his role as principal founder of Microsoft Corporation, and his impactful philanthropy through initiatives such as the Giving Pledge and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We look forward to welcoming him to the Union at the beginning of the coming academic year.”

'The Union’s Professor Hawking Fellowship Committee is made up of:

• Col. (Ret.) William Bailey MBE, Bursar

• Mrs. Sabine Edwards, Corporate Communications

• Ms. Alycia Leach, Vice President (2019-20)

• Mr. Imran Mateo, Vice President (2018-19)

• Ms. Rachel Tustin, President (Michaelmas 2019)

'The 2019 External Advisory Panel was made up of:

• Professor Dame Sally Davies, Master-Elect of Trinity College, Cambridge

• Professor Arthur Gibson, DPMMS, University of Cambridge

• Professor Malcolm Perry, DAMTP, University of Cambridge

• Lord Martin Rees, Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, University of Cambridge

'The Cambridge Union Society is grateful for The Phoenix Partnership’s generous support of the Professor Hawking Fellowship.'

Cover image: Masaru Kamikura, licenced under Creative Commons.