Paul Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, had an interesting educational journey on his path to tech entrepreneurship. Although he never graduated, Allen briefly attended two prestigious universities before leaving to launch Microsoft with Bill Gates. Read on to learn more about where Paul Allen went to college before starting one of the most influential companies in history.
Washington State University
In 1971, Allen enrolled at Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman, Washington. He had spent his teenage years in Seattle nurturing his passion for computers and programming. At WSU, Allen planned to major in computer science.
However, Allen only completed two years at WSU before leaving the school. During his time there, he became more interested in pursuing real-world software projects outside of his coursework. This early entrepreneurial drive would eventually lead him to start Microsoft.
Dropping Out to Found Microsoft
In 1975, Allen left WSU and moved closer to his hometown of Seattle. That same year, he and his high school friend Bill Gates founded Microsoft together.
The young founders believed that the new age of personal computers presented massive business opportunities. They were right – Microsoft would go on to become one of the world’s most valuable companies.
Allen’s brief time at WSU gave him his introduction to programming and passion for software, even though he didn’t earn a degree. His hands-on experience was more valuable than formal education in pursuing his entrepreneurial dreams.
Studying at Washington University in St. Louis
Prior to attending WSU, Allen spent two years studying at Washington University in St. Louis from 1969-1971. He chose the private research university due to its strength in math and science.
Allen took courses in biology, anthropology, and history at Washington University. However, he became bored with the curriculum and felt it did not align with his interests. This led him to return to his home state for a more specialized program at WSU.
Although his time at Washington University was short, it gave Allen a taste of collegiate life beyond Seattle. However, neither of his brief university experiences quite matched his thirst for real-world computing innovation.
Focusing on Entrepreneurship Over Education
For driven entrepreneurs like Paul Allen, formal education often takes a backseat to pursuing their visions. While many questioned his decision to leave two elite universities, Allen had laser focus on the emerging potential of the software industry.
Along with Bill Gates, Allen used his programming expertise to launch Microsoft in 1975. Just two years later, the company made its first $1 million in revenue. The rest is history – Microsoft went on to become a $2 trillion global technology giant.
So while Paul Allen briefly attended two big-name colleges, his true education was through seizing opportunities in the nascent world of computers. He took a nontraditional path to unbelievable success and innovation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Where Paul Allen Went to College
Did Paul Allen graduate from college?
No, Paul Allen did not graduate from college. He left Washington State University in 1975 after two years to start Microsoft with Bill Gates.
What did Paul Allen study in college?
At Washington State University, Allen studied computer science for two years. Prior to that, he completed two years of more general studies at Washington University in St. Louis.
How did Paul Allen and Bill Gates meet?
Allen and Gates met in Seattle as teenagers through their shared interest in computing and programming. They both attended the private Lakeside School and spent time hacking on early computer systems together.
Could Paul Allen code?
Yes, Paul Allen was an skilled programmer and coder since his youth. His coding abilities paired with Bill Gates’ business acumen made them an effective entrepreneurial team.
What major life events shaped Paul Allen’s career?
Major events include: meeting Bill Gates in high school, attending computing-focused universities, dropping out to start Microsoft, and surviving Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the 1980s. His early computing experience and drive to innovate were key.