Melinda Ann French (born August 15, 1964), later known as Melinda French Gates, is an American philanthropist and 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 to Raymond Joseph French, Jr., an engineer, and Elaine Agnes Amerland, a homemaker. Gates was raised as a Roman Catholic and 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, where she was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.
Shortly thereafter, she joined Microsoft and participated in the development of many of Microsoft’s multimedia products including Publisher, Microsoft Bob, Encarta, and Expedia.