Melinda Gates & Bio, Melinda French Gates (born Melinda Ann French; August 15, 1964) is an American businesswoman and philanthropist. She is the wife of Bill Gates. 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.
Melinda was born 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.
Shortly thereafter, she joined Microsoft and participated in the development of many of Microsoft’s multimedia products including Publisher, Microsoft Bob, Encarta, and Expedia.
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 couple reside 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.
As of 2009, Melinda and Bill Gates have donated more than US$24 billion to the Foundation.