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Melinda French Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Melinda Gates was born on August 15, 1964, in Dallas, Texas. She took a job at Microsoft Corporation in 1987 and married her boss, Bill Gates, in 1994. That year, she and her husband co-founded what was later to become the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2006 she restructured the organization. In 2012 she pledged $560 million toward improving access to contraception for women in poor countries.

Melinda Gates was born Melinda Ann French on August 15, 1964, in Dallas, Texas. She has three siblings: one older sister and two younger brothers. Melinda's father, Ray French, was an aerospace engineer during her upbringing, while her mother, Elaine French, was a stay-at-home mom.

Elaine, who wished she had gone to college, placed a strong emphasis on her children's higher education. To that end, the family spent weekends maintaining their rental properties as a means of earning the children's tuition.

Melinda developed an early interest in computers while taking an advanced math class at the Ursuline Academy, a Catholic school for girls. She went on to pursue this interest in college, earning a bachelor's degree in computer science from Duke University in 1986. The following year, she obtained a master's in business administration, with a focus in economics, from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

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