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Melinda Gates to Receive Radcliffe Medal

2.26.20

Photograph of Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates
Photograph courtesy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


Melinda Gates
Photograph courtesy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (RIAS) announced this afternoon that Melinda Gates will be the featured speaker on Radcliffe Day, May 29, at the end of Harvard’s Commencement week. Gates, the philanthropist who co-founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with her husband, Bill Gates ’77, LL.D. ’07 (the co-founder of Microsoft), will receive the institute’s highest honor, the Radcliffe Medal. The news release noted that Melinda Gates “sets the direction and priorities of the world’s largest philanthropic organization and has led the foundation to focus increasingly on improving the lives of women and girls to achieve positive change. In an effort to accelerate social progress for women and families in the United States, Gates also founded Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company that last year committed $1 billion to expand women’s power and influence over the next decade.”

RIAS dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin said in a statement:

We are honoring Melinda for her remarkable impact around the world, for putting women and girls at the center of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s work, and for her urgent and ambitious commitment to the unfinished business of empowering women here in the United States. And this celebration is especially fitting as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and consider the work that remains to be done to achieve the promise of full enfranchisement and political empowerment of all women in the United States.

In recognition of the centennial of the ratification of the amendment, which enfranchised women, the Radcliffe Day program will focus on ways to expand women’s power and influence in the United States. Participants on a panel addressing the issues will include Iris Bohnet, Pratt professor of business and government, director of the Women and Public Policy Program, and academic dean at the Harvard Kennedy School, and author of What Works: Gender Equality by Design; Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO of Chase Consumer Banking; Amanda Nguyen ’13, founder and CEO of Rise Justice Labs; and Gina Raimondo ’93, governor of Rhode Island. President emerita Drew Gilpin Faust, who was the institute’s founding dean, will moderate the discussion.

After the panel, Patty Stonesifer, founding CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will speak about the medalist, who will then engage in a conversation with Harvard Corporation member David M. Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlyle Group, the global private-equity and investment-management firm—and, like Gates, a graduate of Duke, where both have served on the board of trustees. (Rubenstein played a similar role at the public launch of The Harvard Campaign, interviewing Bill Gates on the role of philanthropy.)

Read the Radcliffe announcement here.

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