The below is an alleged transcript of a speech Larry Ellison supposedly gave to a university class. According to the transcript the lecture was at Yale University.


Look at the classmate on your left. Look at the classmate on your right. Now, consider this: five years from now, 10 years from now, even thirty years from now, odds are the person on your left is going to be a loser. The person on your right, meanwhile, will also be a loser. And you, in the middle? What can you expect? Loser. Loserhood. Loser Cum Laude.

In fact, as I look out before me today, I don't see a thousand hopes for a bright tomorrow. I don't see a thousand future leaders in a thousand industries. I see a thousand losers. You're upset. That's understandable. After all, how can I, Lawrence "Larry" Ellison, college dropout, have the audacity to spout such heresy to the graduating class of one of the nation's most prestigious institutions? I'll tell you why. Because I, Lawrence "Larry" Ellison, second richest man on the planet, am a college dropout, and you are not. Because Bill Gates, richest man on the planet - for now anyway - is a college dropout, and you are not. Because Paul Allen, the third richest man on the planet, dropped out of college, and you did not. And for good measure, because Michael Dell, No. 9 on the list and moving up fast, is a college dropout, and you, yet again, are not.

Hmm ... you're very upset. That's understandable. So let me stroke your egos for a moment by pointing out, quite sincerely, that your diplomas were not attained in vain. Most of you, I imagine, have spent four to five years here, and in many ways what you've learned and endured will serve you well in the years ahead. You've established good work habits. You've established a network of people that will help you down the road. And you've established what will be lifelong relationships with the word "therapy". All that of is good. For in truth, you will need that network. You will need those strong work habits. You will need that therapy. You will need them because you didn't drop out, and so you will never be among the richest people in the world.

Oh sure, you may, perhaps, work your way up to #10 or #11, like Steve Ballmer. But then, I don't have to tell you who he really works for, do I? And for the record, he dropped out of grad school. Bit of a late bloomer. Finally, I realize that many of you, and hopefully by now most of you, are wondering, "Is there anything I can do? Is there any hope for me at all?" Actually, no. It's too late. You've absorbed too much, think you know too much. You're not 19 anymore. You have a built-in cap, and I'm not referring to the mortarboards on your heads.

Hmm ... you're really very upset. That's understandable. So perhaps this would be a good time to bring up the silver lining. Not for you, Class of '00. You are a write-off, so I'll let you slink off to your pathetic $200,000-a-year jobs, where your checks will be signed by former classmates who dropped out two years ago. Instead, I want to give hope to any underclassmen here today. I say to you, and I can't stress this enough: leave. Pack your things and your ideas and don't come back. Drop out. Start up. For I can tell you that a cap and gown will keep you down just as surely as these security guards dragging me off this stage are keeping me dow..."

(At this point The Oracle CEO was ushered off stage.)

A debunking of the above alleged speech appears at http://www.snopes.com/quotes/ellison.htm.

In recent years, this concept has been pointed to more and more due to the incredible ease of finding a high-paying job without a higher education. This wouldn't personally piss me off if it weren't for the extreme arrogance that some people display towards those who do choose to get an education at a university; they tend to believe that since they know how to read, they can achieve the same level of education without the whole college scene. These same people tend to miss the entire point of higher education.

University studies are not in place just so that you can memorize facts and pass exams; their goal is to force you to listen to other people interested and well-versed in your field of study. The opinions and ideas which others have are necessary for you to learn not only more about the subjects at hand, but also about yourself. You can learn things by reading books and researching at libraries, but you can't truly become educated without someone to challenge your thoughts and beliefs. Knowledge without controversy lies dormant and quietly fades away, but knowledge that is challenged, that you have been forced to think about and defend, remains alive and vivid within your mind; there is even a slight chance that you will care about it and decide to take your life in a new direction.

So, maybe school is for stupid people. Maybe we aren't all as smart as you, the one who can make all the right decisions in life without ever having to ask for guidance. That's why we go to school; we need someone else to help us focus our energies and interests. The very least you could do with your superior intellect is keep it to yourself; no one needs more discouragement to go on top of an already stressing mix of teachers, seminars, and books. Then again, since you are self-educated and advanced maybe you already know not to.

Of course based on the other writeups this node should really be college is for stupid people, but thats just me being picky.

The part of that argument that I find most problematic is not so much the question of whether you need a college degree to become a computer c.e.o, but the assumption by so many that you would want to. That some how it is to be taking for granted that everyone wants to plan his or her career path with making the most possible money as the ultimate goal. While having enough money to support yourself and if you have one your family is important, their are other reasons to chose a job.

The other problem is that it assumes that knowing anything outside of your field, in this case the field of computers is useless, and any desire to have knowledge for the sake of knowledge is highly suspect. I notice that a lot of people in the computer industry become very focused on computers, and issues related to the tech industry and ignore the rest of the world. Very few people go to liberal arts colleges to become trained for a specific field, the point of a liberal arts education is to learn how to learn, and to be exposed to lots of different things, not just the world of computers.

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