Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates

Melinda French Gates
Melinda Gates at the World Economic Forum in 2011
Born Melinda Ann French
(1964-08-15) August 15, 1964
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Residence Medina, WA, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater Duke University
Occupation Co-Chair, operator of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Religion Roman Catholicism [1][2]
Spouse(s) Bill Gates (m. 1994)
Children 3
Parents Raymond Joseph French Jr.
Elaine Agnes Amerland
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Home Page

Melinda French Gates, (née Melinda Ann French; August 15, 1964)[3] is an American businessperson and philanthropist. She is the co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the wife of Bill Gates. She worked at Microsoft, where she was project manager for Microsoft Bob, Microsoft Encarta and Expedia.

Personal life

Bill Gates and Melinda Gates in Oslo, June 2009.

Gates 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.[4] Gates, a Roman Catholic,[5][6] attended St. Monica Catholic School,[7][8] 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 sorority, Beta Rho Chapter, at Duke University.

Shortly thereafter, she joined Microsoft and participated in the development of many of Microsoft’s multimedia products including Publisher, Microsoft Bob, Encarta, and Expedia.[9]

She met Bill Gates while working at Microsoft.[10] 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 the shore of Lake Washington.

Gates served as a member of Duke University's board of trustees from 1996 to 2003.[11] Gates attends Bilderberg Group conferences and holds a seat on the board of directors of the Washington Post company.[12] She retired from the board of in August 2006 to spend more time working for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[13]

Front building of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle

As of 2014, Melinda and Bill Gates have donated more than US$30 billion to the Foundation.[14]

Awards and recognition

In 2002, Melinda and Bill Gates received the Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[15]

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.[16] In November 2006, Melinda was awarded the Insignia of the Order of the Aztec Eagle, together with Bill Gates who was awarded the Placard of the same order, both 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,[17] at Seattle Children's (then called Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center[18]). 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.[19]

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, Gates was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Duke University as a tribute for her philanthropic commitment. She was also ranked #3 in Forbes 2013 and 2014 lists of the 100 Most Powerful Women,[20] #4 in 2012 and #6 in 2011. And Armchair Advocates added Gates to the list: "100 Tweeters of Social Good You Have to Follow in 2013."[21]

Gates was appointed an honorary Dame of the British Empire in 2013 for her services to philanthropy and international development.[22]

Gates 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.


  1. ^ Melinda Gates at the Notable Names Database
  2. ^ Goodell, Jeff (2014-03-13). "Bill Gates: The Rolling Stone Interview". Rolling Stone. 
  3. ^ Texas Births, 1926–1995. Retrieved on 2013-06-29.
  4. ^ "Melinda Gates goes public (pg. 2)". CNN. January 7, 2008.
  5. ^ The Guardian. Melinda Gates: 'I'm a Catholic, but women need access to contraceptives'. Guardian. Retrieved on 2013-06-29.
  6. ^ The Independent. Catholic Melinda Gates defies the Vatican over birth control funds. (2012-07-12). Retrieved on 2013-06-29.
  7. ^ Business week, Issues 3649–3652.  
  8. ^ Jeanne M. Lesinski (2009). Bill Gates: Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Twenty First Century Books.  
  9. ^ "Profile: Bill Gates". BBC News. 2004-01-26. Retrieved 2007-04-26. 
  10. ^ "Melinda Gates Biography". A&E Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  11. ^ Gates Joins Trustees. (1996-09-30). Retrieved on 2013-06-29.
  12. ^ "Biography: Melinda French Gates". The Washington Post Company. 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-14. 
  13. ^ "Officers and Directors". 2005. Archived from the original on 2006-02-07. Retrieved 2008-02-14. 
  14. ^ [1]. Retrieved on 2014-10-04.
  15. ^ Jefferson Awards
  16. ^ "2012 Laureates – Prince Of Asturias Awards", The Prince of Asturias Foundation. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
  17. ^ Children's Hospital Dedicates Melinda French Gates Ambulatory Care Building | Seattle Children's Hospital. (2006-05-01). Retrieved on 2013-06-29.
  18. ^ How Our Name Evolved | Seattle Children's Hospital. Retrieved on 2013-06-29.
  19. ^ Seattle Children's Hospital Unveils $300 Million Capital Campaign – $200 Million Already Raised | Seattle Children's Hospital. (2006-02-06). Retrieved on 2013-06-29.
  20. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women 2013". Forbes. 
  21. ^ "100 Tweeters of Social Good You Have to Follow in 2013". Armchair Advocates. 2013-09-22. Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  22. ^ "Lynne Featherstone congratulates Melinda Gates as a Dame of the British Empire". Flickr. May 21, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 

External links

  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
  • Melinda Gates at TED
  • Melinda Gates at the Internet Movie Database
  • Melinda Gates at the Notable Names Database
  • Melinda Gates collected news and commentary at The New York Times
  • Works by or about Melinda Gates in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
  • Melinda Gates Goes Public, Fortune magazine, January 4, 2008
  • Melinda Gates Philanthropic Profile,, November, 2012