Melinda Gates: 5 things to know about the billionaire philanthropist

Bill and Melinda Gates split after 27 years: foundation will be left unscathed

FOX News legal analyst Mercedes Colwin discusses how the power couple’s split will affect their philanthropy

Melinda Gates has found her name in the headlines for several days now thanks to her divorce from Bill Gates.

While many know Bill for his contributions to technology via Microsoft, Melinda has also become a prominent figure in the worlds of technology and philanthropy in her own right.

Here are five things to know about the business tycoon.

Bill and Melinda Gates have announced their divorce after 27 years of marriage. (Getty Images)

She’s a billionaire

The world has long known Bill Gates as one of the richest people out there, but on Wednesday, Melinda solidified her status as a billionaire as well.

MELINDA GATES DIVORCE PAYDAY NEARS $2.4B AFTER COCA-COLA FEMSA TRANSFER

Citing SEC filings, Forbes reports that as the pair began to split up their bevy of assets, Bill transferred nearly $2.4 billion to Melinda on Monday, the same day they announced their split.

She received $309 million worth of AutoNation shares and $1.5 billion worth of Canadian National Railway Co. shares as part of the deal.

BILL AND MELINDA GATES DIVORCE HIGHLIGHTS RISE OF OLDER-AGE SPLITS

She earned a double bachelor’s degree from Duke University 

Gates went to high school at the Ursuline Academy of Dallas and graduated valedictorian and served as head of the drill team, according to Business Insider.

She then earned a double bachelor’s degree in computer science and economics from Duke University and a master's degree from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in just five years.

While studying at Duke, she was a member of the Beta Rho chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority.

Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, became a billionaire in her own right this week. (Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

She met Bill shortly before she joined Microsoft

Their decades-long relationship began in 1987 after crossing paths at a dinner during a trade convention in New York when Melinda was hired on as a product manager at Microsoft.

"There were two chairs open… I sat down. The next chair was empty. Ten minutes later, Bill came in and sat down next to me," Melinda recalled in a 2019 interview during an episode of "The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations."

At the time, Melinda had rebuffed Gates’ invitation to hit up a dance club with him and some friends as she had previously made plans with another pal.

It wasn’t until the pair saw each other in the parking lot at Microsoft HQ months later that they began chatting away and Gates extended another invitation for Melinda to join him for dinner.

MELINDA GATES REPORTEDLY RENTED PRIVATE ISLAND TO AVOID MEDIA AFTER DIVORCE

She’s a passionate philanthropist

Forbes has dubbed Melinda the "most powerful woman in philanthropy" thanks to her position as co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

She's spent a great deal of time focusing on girls' and womens' rights and has even taken philanthropic trips to Africa with their children, according to Business Insider.

In a TED talk, Melinda once said they teach their kids that they "have a responsibility to give back to the world."

Additionally, the Gates' have revealed that the vast majority of their fortune will not be inherited by their children, but will go to their foundation someday.

Melinda Gates has been given numerous awards for her work as a philanthropist. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

She’s received a handful of awards

As one might expect of a world-renowned philanthropist, Melinda has picked up a few awards over the years.

Perhaps most notably, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2016.

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She's also received multiple honorary degrees from various schools and was appointed an honorary Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2013.

Fox Business' Julius Young contributed to this report

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