Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan visited her old high school in Quincy, Massachusetts, on Tuesday, one of many stops in the Northeast the couple planned for their “Fifth Honeymoon.” Chan, the daughter of Chinese refugees, graduated from Quincy High School, just outside of Boston, as Class Valedictorian in 2003. The couple made a donation to the school, but the amount and other details of the gift have not yet been released.
While the couple is undoubtedly well off financially, with Zuckerberg adding several billion dollars to his already considerable net worth just in 2017 and Chan working as a pediatrician, their philanthropy isn’t just a way to give back to their childhood communities. The stop was part of a promise that Zuckerberg made to his wife immediately following their wedding in 2012.
The Facebook corporation had gone public the day before the couple got married, but it certainly wasn’t planned that way. Chan and Zuckerberg had made surprise wedding plans some time in advance, but IPOs (Initial Public Offerings, or the first time a privately owned company is open to the public purchase of stock) won’t wait until after a special day. Even if it’s a wedding day.
“Priscilla and I wanted a low key wedding so we decided to make it a surprise and have it in our backyard,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post on his social media platform on Friday. “I sent our friends and family an email telling them I was throwing a surprise party for Priscilla to celebrate her graduation from medical school. Since they thought it was a surprise for Priscilla, they kept it quiet. When they showed up at our home, I told them we were getting married. It was a great day.”
He went on to explain how the timing of his wedding ended up being the day after Facebook went public came to pass. When an IPO is being planned out, there is no real timeframe to work within. They are simply ready when they are ready, and as soon as they are ready, the company goes public. Zuckerberg remembered how he tried to get the Facebook CFO David Wehner to either speed up or postpone the IPO so that it wouldn’t be so close to the day he was to wed his bride, but Wehner was having none of it.
“I remember the day David… told me the IPO process would conclude on May 18,” Zuckerberg continued. “I was shocked. I closed the door and asked if it was possible to maybe do it a few days sooner. He said it wouldn’t be ready yet. I asked if maybe we could do it a week later, and he told me that May 18 was the day it would be ready so it needed to be that day.”
Facebook’s IPO didn’t go nearly as well as Zuckerberg and the rest of the company had hoped. In fact, it was plagued with problems that saw the stock trading at much less than it opened with, settling at around $32 a share compared to the $38 opening price. As a result, Zuckerberg and Chan had to cut their honeymoon short so that the Facebook CEO could be with his team to figure out exactly what was going on and try to fix the problems.
But always the innovative genius, Zuckerberg told his new wife that he would make it up to her in stellar fashion — every year. This time, the couple capped off their trip with a little philanthropy benefiting Chan’s former high school, but that is not the extent of the couple’s generosity. In 2012, Zuckerberg and Chan pledged that they would donate 99 percent of their shares in Facebook, valued at over $45 billion, to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a foundation the couple started that focuses on promoting and encouraging education in science and engineering. They have also given around $1.6 billion to various charities, and $120 million to schools in the San Francisco Bay area.
The couple’s visit to Quincy High School was towards the end of a route that will take the Facebook billionaire to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he will be speaking at Harvard University’s commencement. Zuckerberg and Chan are both Harvard alumni, and it was there that they met and began dating in 2003, while Mark was preparing to launch the social media platform that became Facebook out of his dorm room. A fitting ending to the couple’s “Fifth Honeymoon,” and a great way for Mark Zuckerberg to apologize yet again for the rocky start to his marriage to Priscilla Chan.
[Featured Image by Jeff Chiu/AP Images]