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Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates

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Melinda Ann French later known as Melinda French Gates, is an American businesswoman and philanthropist. She is the wife of Bill Gates
Bill Gates
William Henry "Bill" Gates III is an American business magnate, investor, philanthropist, and author. Gates is the former CEO and current chairman of Microsoft, the software company he founded with Paul Allen...

. She is the co-founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates. It is "driven by the interests and passions of the Gates family"...

 and a former unit manager for several Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 products such as Publisher
Microsoft Publisher
Microsoft Publisher is a desktop publishing application from Microsoft. It is an entry-level application, differing from Microsoft Word in that the emphasis is placed on page layout and design rather than text composition and proofing...

, Microsoft Bob
Microsoft Bob
Microsoft Bob was a Microsoft software product, released in March 1995, which provided a new, nontechnical interface to desktop computing operations. It was one of Microsoft's more visible product failures...

, Encarta
Encarta
Microsoft Encarta was a digital multimedia encyclopedia published by Microsoft Corporation from 1993 to 2009. , the complete English version, Encarta Premium, consisted of more than 62,000 articles, numerous photos and illustrations, music clips, videos, interactive contents, timelines, maps and...

, and Expedia
Expedia
Expedia is an Internet-based travel website based in the US with localised sites for 21 countries...

.

Childhood and career


Gates was born in Dallas, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

 to Raymond Joseph French, Jr., an engineer
Engineer
An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality,...

, and Elaine Agnes Amerland, a homemaker
Homemaker
Homemaking is a mainly American term for the management of a home, otherwise known as housework, housekeeping or household management...

. Gates was both raised and remains a practicing Roman Catholic and attended St. Monica Catholic School, where she was the top student in her class year. She graduated as valedictorian
Valedictorian
Valedictorian is an academic title conferred upon the student who delivers the closing or farewell statement at a graduation ceremony. Usually, the valedictorian is the highest ranked student among those graduating from an educational institution...

 from Ursuline Academy of Dallas
Ursuline Academy of Dallas
Ursuline Academy of Dallas is a Catholic college preparatory high school for girls located on Walnut Hill Lane, in the area around Preston Hollow in Dallas, Texas...

 in 1982. Gates earned a bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 in computer science
Computer science
Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...

 and economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

 from Duke University
Duke University
Duke University is a private research university located in Durham, North Carolina, United States. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco industrialist James B...

 in 1986 and an MBA
Master of Business Administration
The Master of Business Administration is a :master's degree in business administration, which attracts people from a wide range of academic disciplines. The MBA designation originated in the United States, emerging from the late 19th century as the country industrialized and companies sought out...

 from Duke's Fuqua School of Business
Fuqua School of Business
The Fuqua School of Business is the business school of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, United States. It currently enrolls 1,340 students in degree-seeking programs...

 in 1987, where she was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta
Kappa Alpha Theta
Kappa Alpha Theta , also known as Theta, is an international fraternity for women founded on January 27, 1870 at DePauw University, formerly Indiana Asbury...

 sorority.

Shortly thereafter, she joined Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 and participated in the development of many of Microsoft’s multimedia products including Publisher
Microsoft Publisher
Microsoft Publisher is a desktop publishing application from Microsoft. It is an entry-level application, differing from Microsoft Word in that the emphasis is placed on page layout and design rather than text composition and proofing...

, Microsoft Bob
Microsoft Bob
Microsoft Bob was a Microsoft software product, released in March 1995, which provided a new, nontechnical interface to desktop computing operations. It was one of Microsoft's more visible product failures...

, Encarta
Encarta
Microsoft Encarta was a digital multimedia encyclopedia published by Microsoft Corporation from 1993 to 2009. , the complete English version, Encarta Premium, consisted of more than 62,000 articles, numerous photos and illustrations, music clips, videos, interactive contents, timelines, maps and...

, and Expedia
Expedia
Expedia is an Internet-based travel website based in the US with localised sites for 21 countries...

.

Awards and recognition


In December 2005, she and her husband, along with musician Bono, were named by Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

as Persons of the Year
Person of the Year
Person of the Year is an annual issue of the United States newsmagazine Time that features and profiles a person, couple, group, idea, place, or machine that "for better or for worse, ...has done the most to influence the events of the year."- History :The tradition of selecting a Man of the Year...

. The Gates received the Spanish Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation on May 4, 2006 in recognition of their world impact through charitable giving.

She was ranked #40 in Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

magazine list of the 100 Most Powerful Women
Forbes Magazine's List of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women
Starting in 2004, Forbes magazine has made a list of the 100 most powerful women in the world. It is edited by editor Mary Ellen Egan, and based on visibility and economic impact...

 in 2008, #24 in 2007, and #12 in 2006.

In November 2006, she and her husband were awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle
Order of the Aztec Eagle
The Order of the Aztec Eagle is a Mexican order and is the highest decoration awarded to foreigners in the country.It was created by decree on December 29, 1933 by President Abelardo L. Rodríguez as a reward to services given to Mexico or humankind by foreigners...

 for their philanthropic work around the world in the areas of health and education, particularly in Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, and specifically in the program "Un país de lectores".

On June 12, 2009, Melinda and Bill Gates received honorary degrees from the University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

. 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.

Melinda Gates has also donated over 10 million dollars to her high school Ursuline Academy of Dallas
Ursuline Academy of Dallas
Ursuline Academy of Dallas is a Catholic college preparatory high school for girls located on Walnut Hill Lane, in the area around Preston Hollow in Dallas, Texas...

. She is one of the major donors of their Facing the Future Campaign and was honored in their dedication ceremony on May 7, 2010.

Marriage and family


In 1994, she married Bill Gates
Bill Gates
William Henry "Bill" Gates III is an American business magnate, investor, philanthropist, and author. Gates is the former CEO and current chairman of Microsoft, the software company he founded with Paul Allen...

 in a private ceremony held in Lanai
Lanai
Lānai or Lanai is the sixth-largest of the Hawaiian Islands. It is also known as the Pineapple Island because of its past as an island-wide pineapple plantation. The only town is Lānai City, a small settlement....

, Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

, after the couple met at a Microsoft press event while she visited Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

. Shortly thereafter, she left Microsoft to focus on starting and raising her family. Her last position was Microsoft’s General Manager of Information Products. The Gateses have three children: daughters Jennifer Katharine Gates (born 1996) and Phoebe Adele Gates (born 2002), and son Rory John Gates (born 1999).

Gates served as a member of Duke University's board of trustees from 1996 to 2003. Gates attends Bilderberg Group
Bilderberg Group
The Bilderberg Group, Bilderberg conference, or Bilderberg Club is an annual, unofficial, invitation-only conference of approximately 120 to 140 guests from North America and Western Europe, most of whom are people of influence. About one-third are from government and politics, and two-thirds from...

 conferences and holds a seat on the board of directors of the Washington Post company. She retired from the board of Drugstore.com
Drugstore.com
Drugstore.com is an Internet retailer in health and beauty care products headquartered in Bellevue, Washington. Its web operations were launched on February 24, 1999....

 in August 2006 to spend more time working for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates. It is "driven by the interests and passions of the Gates family"...

.

The Gates have donated more than US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

24 billion to the Foundation.

External links