‘Lead a Life of Service:' Dr. Priscilla Chan Gives Commencement Speech At The Harker School

Dr. Priscilla Chan gave a commencement speech at San Jose’s The Harker School on Thursday, seven years after she left teaching there and decided to go to medical school, and then to go on to marry Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The former teacher-turned-mother-pediatrician-and-philanthropist spoke inspirational words at the Mountain Winery amphitheater in front of the school community. The audience included the same graduating students she once taught science to in fourth grade when she was a teacher there.

“Take lots of risk and ask for help," she said, as her husband sat in the audience, while all eyes were focused on his accomplished wife. "My goal is to empower children to learn and live their lives to their full potential. I always took what I thought was the most interesting and challenging step to reach my goals. From each vantage point, I had no idea where I would land next." She stopped for a moment as she read those words, choking up with emotion.

She started her speech by giving out a shoutout to all the parents, and brought up the fact that being a new mom to her baby, Max was the most "tiring and heart-melting" job in the world. She also noted she was the first person in her family to go to college.

The Harker School provided NBC Bay Area photos and video of the event.

The private school is a far cry from The Primary School in East Palo Alto that Chan founded last fall. The school is expected to open in August, offering fulltime school for 4-year-olds and parent-based programming for infants and 2-year-olds. The school would focus both on education and living a healthy life. Tuition would be free.

Schools are definitely a focus for the high-powered couple. 

Zuckerberg and Chan also gave $120 million to Bay Area schools and $5 million to the Ravenswood Family Health Center in East Palo Alto, both channeled through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

One of Chan's parting words to the children: "Lead a life of service."

Contact Us