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Entrepreneurs / Leadership

Obama Pokes Fun at Bill Gates as He Awards Him Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Microsoft co-founder and wife Melinda were honored for their significant philanthropic work.
Obama Pokes Fun at Bill Gates as He Awards Him Presidential Medal of Freedom
Image credit: Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
U.S. President Barack Obama jokes with Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates before presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 21 Americans during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.
- Entrepreneur Staff
Staff Writer. Covers media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.
2 min read

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You know you’ve made it when the president of the United States teases you about your lack of game.

This week, 21 luminaries from multiple industries -- including Ellen DeGeneres, Michael Jordan, architect Frank Gehry, Diana Ross, Tom Hanks, NASA engineer Margaret Hamilton and Bill and Melinda Gates -- were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor.

Related: This Is Bill and Melinda Gates' Prediction for the Future of Online Education

President Obama opened his remarks at the White House by joking about the genesis of the Gates’ relationship.

“We came close to missing out on Bill and Melinda Gates’s incredible partnership because apparently Bill’s opening line was, 'do you want to go out two weeks from this coming Saturday?' He’s good with computers, but you know… Fortunately Melinda believes in second chances and the world is better for it,” Obama said.

Citing the couple’s tireless work to provide medical care, education, clean water and a safe and healthy environment to millions, the president commended the pair of “impatient optimists” for their continued fight to improve the world.

Founded 16 years ago, today the Gates Foundation has a presence in all 50 states and more than 100 countries and is responsible for providing $36 billion in grants.

 

 

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