Meet Priscilla Chan, tech’s newest first lady

Once the dust had settled on the story of the Facebook IPO, it seemed the news cycle would might go without a mention of Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg for at least a couple of hours. Then came the news Saturday that Zuckerberg, 28, had married college sweetheart Priscilla Chan in a surprise ceremony.

Chan, who has been with Zuckerberg for nine years, is quite accomplished in her own right — she is, after all, a Harvard graduate.

Tech’s newest first lady has had a big week completely separate from what’s been going on in Zuckerberg’s life. On Monday, she graduated from University of California San Francisco medical school, where she has been studying to be a pediatrician. Zuckerberg credited Chan, who has also worked as a teacher, with the idea to use Facebook as a platform to raise awareness about organ donation.

She was also the valedictorian of her high school class in 2003. The Quincy, Mass. newspaper, the Patriot Ledger, reported that her speech was based on Dr. Seuss’ sclassic,“Oh the Places You’ll Go.”As The Washington Post’s Reliable Source column notes, Chan was notably left out of the movie about Facebook, “The Social Network,” but she was mentioned a couple of times in its source material, the book “Accidental Billionaires,” where she is first described as a “pretty Asian girl at Mark’s side; tall, Chinese, with jet-black hair and a really nice smile.”

Chan has managed to keep largely out of the spotlight despite being the girlfriend of one of the most-watched people in the country, and has earned a reputation of being very down to earth. According to Business Insider, Chan has set ground rules for the relationship, which include a stipulation that the two get one date night each week and at least 100 minutes of alone time — away from Facebook’s offices.

She joins the ranks of other impressive women who’ve been snagged by tech’s top executives, including: Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of genetic testing startup 23andMe, who is married to Google’s Sergey Brin; Laurene Powell Jobs, co-founder of the education outreach program College Track and widow of Apple’s Steve Jobs; and Melinda Gates, who co-chairs the foundation named for her and her husband, Microsoft’s Bill Gates.

Related stories:

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan: How they pulled off their surprise wedding

Facebook users can add organ donor status

Glitches mar Facebook stock debut

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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