Melinda Gates at the World Economic Forum in 2011
|Born||Melinda Ann French
August 15, 1964
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
|Residence||Medina, Washington, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Duke University|
|Occupation||Co-Chair, operator of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation|
|Spouse(s)||Bill Gates (m. 1994)|
|Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Home Page|
Melinda French Gates (born Melinda Ann French; August 15, 1964) is an American businesswoman and philanthropist. She is the wife of Bill Gates, whom she met while working at Microsoft, where she was project manager for Microsoft Bob, Microsoft Encarta and Expedia.
Melinda was born in 1964 in Dallas, Texas. She was the second of four children born to Raymond Joseph French Jr., an engineer, and Elaine Agnes Amerland, a homemaker. She has an older sister and two younger brothers. Gates, a Roman Catholic, attended St. Monica Catholic School, where she was the top student in her class year. She graduated as valedictorian from Ursuline Academy of Dallas in 1982. Gates earned a bachelor's degree in computer science and economics from Duke University in 1986 and an MBA from Duke's Fuqua School of Business in 1987. She was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta women's fraternity at Duke University (Beta Rho).
In 1994, she married Bill Gates in a private ceremony held in Lanai, Hawaii. Shortly thereafter, she left Microsoft to focus on starting and raising her family. Her last position was Microsoft’s General Manager of Information Products. Melinda and Bill Gates have three children: daughters Jennifer Katharine Gates (born 1996) and Phoebe Adele Gates (born 2002), and son Rory John Gates (born 1999). The family resides in a large mansion on Lake Washington.
Melinda served as a member of Duke University's board of trustees from 1996 to 2003. Gates attends Bilderberg Group conferences and holds a seat on the board of directors of the Washington Post company. She retired from the board of Drugstore.com in August 2006 to spend more time working for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
In December 2005, Melinda and Bill Gates were named by Time as Persons of the Year alongside Bono. Melinda and Bill Gates received the Spanish Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation on May 4, 2006 in recognition of their world impact through charitable giving. In November 2006, Melinda and Bill Gates were awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle for their philanthropic work around the world in the areas of health and education, particularly in Mexico, and specifically in the program "Un país de lectores".
In May 2006, she was honored for her work to improve the lives of children locally and around the world with the naming of the Melinda French Gates Ambulatory Care building, at Seattle Children's (then called Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center). She also chaired The Campaign for Children’s, a $300 million comprehensive fundraising campaign to expand facilities, fund under-compensated and uncompensated care and grow the hospital’s research program to find cures and treatments.
On June 12, 2009, Melinda and Bill Gates received honorary degrees from the University of Cambridge. Their benefaction of $210 million in 2000 set up the Gates Cambridge Trust, which funds postgraduate scholars from outside the UK to study at the University.
In 2013, Melinda Gates was awarded a honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Duke University as a tribute for her philantropic commitment.
Melinda has also donated over $10 million to her high school Ursuline Academy of Dallas. She is one of the major donors of their Facing the Future Campaign and was honored in their dedication ceremony on May 7, 2010.
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