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“It would not be the standard kind of stuff after school and in the summer,” he said. “It would be something that takes place in their classroom when they’re teaching.”

Mr. Zuckerberg said he had been thinking about becoming a philanthropist and focusing on education, and decided to act now. “The status quo path would be to wait until later into my career to do something,” he told reporters.

The donation came just ahead of the opening of “The Social Network,” a movie that suggests Mr. Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook from his Harvard classmates.

Mr. Zuckerberg said he worried that the contribution would be seen as an attempt to improve his image, and he considered making the donation anonymously. Mr. Booker said he and Miss Winfrey persuaded Mr. Zuckerberg to attach his name to the gift.

As for the film, “oh, well, I mean it’s a movie, it’s fun,” Mr. Zuckerberg told Miss Winfrey. “A lot of it is fiction, but even the filmmakers will say that. — I can promise you this is my life, so I know it’s not that dramatic. The last six years have been a lot coding and focus and hard work, but maybe it would be fun to remember it as partying and all this crazy drama.”