Tatler Interview: Bill Gates Reflects on Lakeside Memories


Tom Reese

Bill Gates ’73 answers a student’s question during the all-school assembly moderated by Elda K.’20 (Reese)

On October 2, Bill Gates ’73 graciously met with editors-in-chief Kanishka R. ’20 and Isabelle Q. ’20. The interview took place in the Bliss Conference Room after Mr. Gates’ all-school presentation and discussion with the Molecular and Cellular Biology class.

Q: What is your biggest regret from your days at Lakeside?

A: Well I had quite a good experience. The teachers engaged me, particularly in math and science, but even the English and history teachers. I wasn’t very sociable and didn’t do much in the way of athletics. I wish I had done those things, but I didn’t prioritize them at all. And it was a boys’ school for most of my time: the merger took place for my last two years—my junior and senior year. So, it changed dramatically from this boys’ school with uniforms and study halls… by the end, nobody thought the chapel was for religious services and they didn’t know about uniforms and study halls. All those things got changed, but I met Paul Allen (’71) here, which was key to Microsoft. Overall, it was great even though I was a bit narrow in what I focused on.

Q: Did you have a favorite course or most inspiring teacher at Lakeside?

A: Yeah, I had a lot. I mean everybody: Fred Wright in Math, Karen Mastretti… [and] Bill Dougall in Physics. Dr. Morris for Chemistry. I had a lot of good teachers. I was drawn in even to history and drama in a strong way, but mostly the math and science people. There were a few teachers, like Dale Bauer, who stayed at the school for a long time, we’re talking about until about five years ago, so it’s kind of impressive that he spent that time. But a lot of good teachers. It was great when my two daughters went here and had pretty amazing teachers.

Q: Do you have a favorite memory from Lakeside?

A: Well, doing the school schedule was kind of this unique thing where I got over the course of the summer to try and do it and was pretty worried I wouldn’t get it done correctly, and so I was really worried that first day of school would come and it would be a complete disaster. When I was first doing it, I’m sixteen years old and I had a theory about how to do it, but it was a completely new piece of software, so that was pretty intense. I remember our graduation party… that was pretty wild. I’m surprised how much I remember—it was a fun and intense period for me.