Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg finally gets his degree

More than a decade on from famously dropping out of Harvard University to pursue the development of global social media platform Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg will receive his computer science degree.

The world's fifth richest person has been invited back to Harvard to give a commencement address to the university's class of 2017, and will also take hold of an honorary degree in the process.

In a post on the Harvard University website, Mr Zuckerberg's leadership of Facebook was described as having "profoundly altered the nature of social engagement worldwide".

"Few inventions in modern times can rival Facebook in its far-reaching impact on how people around the globe interact with one another," Harvard University President Drew Faust said.

"Few individuals can rival Mark Zuckerberg in his drive to change our world through the innovative use of technology, as well as his commitment to advance science, enhance education, and expand opportunity through the pursuit of philanthropy."

The glowing comments from Harvard come 12 years after they forced him to give a public apology following the creation of a website that ranked the attractiveness of students, based on private images taken from the university's database. Mr Zuckerberg's troubles with management were compounded when the site became so popular, the university's internet network crashed.

Mr Zuckerberg created Facebook while still a sophomore at Harvard with a handful of friends, and after catching on across the campus it then spread to a number of other universities.

The website continued to grow in popularity, and when it became clear the website was spreading beyond the university scene, Mr Zuckerberg dropped out to lead his burgeoning organisation.

The story of Mark Zuckerberg's creation of Facebook and its subsequent meteoric rise was told in 2010 film The Social Network.

His tale of dropping out of university before achieving huge success is one that follows the same trajectory as Apple founder Steve Jobs and Microsoft chief executive Bill Gates. Mr Zuckerberg featured in a promotional video with the latter ahead of his address at Harvard.

Mr Zuckerberg will speak at Harvard University graduation on May 25.