SOUTHFIELD — It will be a homecoming of sorts for Steven A. Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft Corp., when he receives a Doctor of Computer Science and Engineering honorary degree during a special convocation at Lawrence Technological University March 8.
Nearly 40 years ago, as an accomplished junior and senior at the Detroit Country Day School in Beverly Hills, Ballmer began taking math classes at Lawrence Tech and attended the Lawrence Tech Summer Science Institute after junior year.
After high school, he attended Harvard University, where he met fellow student Bill Gates, starting a relationship that eventually would transform the computing industry, personal communication, and most aspects of societal interaction.
“Steve Ballmer is one of the most revered and successful leaders in American business today,” said Lawrence Tech President Virinder K. Moudgil. “His influence and that of the company he leads is worldwide, and we are delighted and very proud to recognize his remarkable accomplishments with LTU’s highest and most prestigious honor.”
Ballmer joined Microsoft in 1980 and was the first business manager hired by Gates. Since then, Ballmer’s leadership, ebullience, and passion have become hallmarks of his tenure at the company.
Richard Marburger, Lawrence Tech’s president from 1977 to 1993 and today president emeritus, was previously dean of arts and sciences and made arrangements for the young Ballmer to co-enroll.
“It was not unheard of, but it was unusual for us at the time to accept a student still in high school,” Marburger recalled. “However, Steve was clearly an unusually gifted student and that became even clearer when he earned A’s in each of our six most challenging mathematics classes that he took here.”
Ballmer was born in 1956 and grew up in the Detroit area, where his father worked as a manager at Ford Motor Co. He graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics. While in college, Ballmer managed the football team, worked on the Harvard Crimson newspaper as well as the university literary magazine, and lived down the hall from fellow sophomore Bill Gates. After college, he worked for two years at Procter & Gamble Co. as an assistant product manager and, before joining Microsoft, attended Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Attendance at Lawrence Tech’s convocation ceremony is limited to students, faculty, staff, and guests by invitation only.
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. Bloomberg Businessweek lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 20 percent of universities for return on undergraduate tuition investment, and highest in the Detroit metropolitan area. Lawrence Tech is also listed in the top tier of Midwestern universities by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus include over 60 student clubs and organizations and a growing roster of NAIA varsity sports.