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Melinda Gates

Gates at the World Economic Forum, 2009
Born August 15, 1964 (1964-08-15) (age 45)
Dallas, Texas, USA
Occupation Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Spouse(s) Bill Gates (1994-present)
Children 3
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Home Page

Melinda French Gates (born Melinda Ann French; August 15, 1964)[1] is an American philanthropist. She is the co-founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a former unit manager for several Microsoft products such as Publisher, Microsoft Bob, Encarta, and Expedia. In 1994, she married Bill Gates, founder, chairman, and former chief software architect of Microsoft.


Life and career

Gates was born and raised in Dallas, Texas to Raymond Joseph French, Jr., an engineer, and Elaine Agnes Amerland, a stay-at-home mother. Gates attended St. Monica Catholic School and was a standout in her class. She was valedictorian of her class at Ursuline Academy of Dallas in 1982. She earned a bachelor degree in computer science and economics from Duke University in 1986 and an MBA from Duke's Fuqua School of Business in 1987. She is an alumna of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.

Gates joined Microsoft in 1987, where she participated in the development of many of Microsoft’s multimedia products including Publisher, Microsoft Bob, Encarta, and Expedia. In 1996, Gates left Microsoft to raise her family. Her last position was Microsoft’s General Manager of Information Products.

She met Bill Gates in 1987 at a Microsoft press event in Manhattan.[2] She married him on January 1, 1994 in a private ceremony in Lanai, Hawaii. They have three children.

Gates served as a member of Duke University's board of trustees from 1996 to 2003.[3] Gates attends Bilderberg Group conferences and holds a seat on the board of directors of the Washington Post company.[4] She retired from the board of in August 2006 to spend more time working for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[5]

The Gates' have donated more than US$24 billion to the Foundation.[6]

She is a Roman Catholic.[7]

Awards and recognition

In December 2005, she and her husband, along with musician Bono, were named by Time as Persons of the Year. The Gates couple received the Spanish Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation on May 4 2006 in recognition of their world impact through charitable giving.[8]

She was ranked #40 in Forbes magazine list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in 2008,[9] #24 in 2007,[10] and #12 in 2006.[11]

In November 2006, she and her husband 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".

Melinda and Bill Gates, June 2009.

On 12th of June 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.


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