UPDATE (February 5, 2014 - 7:00 A.M.)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- One of the top jobs at computer software giant Microsoft now belongs to a Florida A&M University graduate.
John W. Thompson, a 1971 graduate of FAMU, was named February 4 as independent chairman of Microsoft Corporation; a role previously held by company founder Bill Gates. Thompson first joined Microsoft's board in February 2012.
According to a release from Microsoft, Gates is stepping down in order to give more attention to other projects. Thompson was named Chairman of the Board the same day Satya Nadella was named Chief Executive Officer, taking over for Steve Ballmer.
In addition to Chairman of the Microsoft Company board, Thompson is the chief executive officer of Virtual Instruments; a privately held company that reportedly produces products designed to "ensure the performance and availability of applications deployed in virtualized and private cloud computing environments.".
Thompson also spent 10 years as CEO of Symanetc. Thompson graduated in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Florida A&M University. He has also earned a master's degree in Management from the Sloan Fellows program of the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Wednesday, Dr. Shawnta Friday-Stroud, dean of FAMU's School of Business and Industry, appeared on WTXL ABC27 Sunrise to discuss the significance of Thompson's selection as Microsoft's chairman.
Friday-Stroud says she believes Thompson's connection will not only serve as a reminder to students about the importance of a good education, but will continue to benefit the University as a whole. Friday-Stroud says FAMU just last month received a donation of Microsoft software totaling more than $450,000 to "enhance office productivity and content management for students, faculty, and staff."