Amy Clancy KIRO 7 Eyewitness News
POSTED: 2:36 pm PDT October 6, 2004
UPDATED: 4:53 pm PDT October 6, 2004
SEATTLE -- He's the richest man in the world, and over the years he's given away billions of dollars.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is hoping to encourage others to follow in his philanthropic footsteps by giving money to the University of Washington.
Bill Gates didn't even go to the UW. He dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft. But his family is deeply connected to the university, and Wednesday Gates said it's time for alums, local businesses and others to step up to the plate and donate.
"I definitely took advantage of UW resources," Gates said in an interview with KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter and anchor Amy Clancy.
Bill Gates said his quest to understand computers and software began on the University of Washington campus back when he was a teen and his father was a UW Regent.
"The computers that were there were one of the ways that i learned, even before I went away to college, about software and what was possible."
"The computers were so expensive that I had to go in late at night when these machines weren't being used. And they weren't a thousandth as good as the ones you can buy for $500 today. But they really gave me a glimpse. It was both myself and Paul Allen there, trying things out, thinking about what was the limit to what software could do?"
A few years later, Gates and Allen co-founded Microsoft.
Today, Gates is not only one of the world's wealthiest men, he's also one of the most generous, giving away more than $20 billion over the years.
Today, he's encouraging others to give to the UW as part of a new campaign to raise $2 billion by the year 2008.
He says the money is necessary to keep the UW on the cutting edge.
"It's right up there at the top. And I can speak very personally and say, that's been very important to Microsoft. It's been very important to my foundation in terms of many partnerships we have with the great people at the UW."
The fundraising campaign has silently raised $1.4 billion over the past four years, before it's official kick-off next week.