It’s official—Bill Gates will speak at Concordia College this April.
Concordia’s campus will be a different place with such a prominent, global figure on its grounds. In fact, the hype from the upcoming visit is already spreading throughout the school and spilling into the surrounding community, promising to change this college in the coming years. Even with this hype, Concordia cannot change substantially before April. However, the period between now and Mr. Gates’ arrival provides the perfect opportunity for Concordia to reconsider its policy on the computer science major.
Concordia College previously chose to take actions that resulted in discontinuing the computer science major. I have heard plenty of stories regarding this choice even as an entering freshman, and I think most students are eager for the college to reassess the value of a computer science major. I would argue that, in an age where computer-scientists-turned-entrepreneurs are our philanthropy rock stars and business role models, the value of a full computer science department cannot be overstated. Bill Gates has engaged the world through his computing prowess—shouldn’t Concordia students have the same opportunity?
Bill Gates is rightfully lauded as both a highly successful businessman and an astoundingly generous philanthropist, but both of these achievements would have been impossible without his background in programming. By founding Microsoft, Gates completely changed the future of computing. Furthermore, Gates’ stunning philanthropic work—which has focused on global health, poverty and education—most recently manifests itself in Code.org’s campaign to promote computer education for youth. It is therefore clear to me that Mr. Gates would support reestablishing computer science at Concordia.
There should be one question on Concordia’s campus regarding Bill Gates’ visit: Does a background in computer science prepare someone to, in keeping with Concordia’s mission to “influence the affairs of the world?” By inviting a foremost mind in computer science, Concordia College has expressed that it indeed does. I hope that the same administrator who had the wisdom to invite Mr. Gates has the foresight to reconsider a computer science major.
While I, like most residents of Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo, am incredibly excited to see Bill Gates; I am more excited because I believe this invitation presents an opportunity to debate reinstating a full computer science major.
This letter was written by Zach Lipp, a contributing writer for The Concordian.