Philanthropist Addresses Young Women

By Kristi Nelson
|  Friday, May 7, 2010  |  Updated 7:28 PM CDT
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Melinda Gates Honored

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Melinda Gates, the wife of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, was valedictorian at the Ursuline Academy of Dallas in 1982.

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Melinda Gates Honored

Philanthropist Melinda French Gates returned to Dallas Friday for the dedication of The French Family Science, Math and Technology Center at her alma mater, Ursuline Academy.
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A philanthropist returned to her Dallas alma mater for the dedication of a state-of-the-art facility named for her family.

Melinda Gates, the wife of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, was valedictorian at the Ursuline Academy of Dallas in 1982. When she attended the school in the 1970s and '80s, her last name was French.

She said the lessons she learned in Dallas have helped form her moral code and the basis for her philanthropy. She said she remembered working as a volunteer at Walnut Hill Elementary School in Dallas.

"And I had a chance to see education from two sides -- the front row in a great private school and the back row in a public setting," Gates said.

She said she believes science and technology can help improve lives around the world, even starting with the young women educated here. Gates, who is co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, dedicated the school's new French Family Science, Math and Technology Center on Friday.

"I think her speech was phenomenal,” said one student. “And for incoming girls, I think they'll be able to look to her, and she's just going to be an everlasting legend here at Ursuline."

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