Ursuline alumna Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft Corporation founder Bill Gates, spoke to the Dallas Morning News this week about her new book and her time at the Ursuline Academy of Dallas.

Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates is currently on tour for her new book, “The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World.” In the book, she shares her story along with stories of women who she has met around the world. In a Facebook promotion video, Gates said she hopes the book creates conversations about how to create more moments of lift and empowerment for women.

In a question-and-answer story with the Dallas Morning News, Melinda Gates said attending Ursuline helped shape the woman who she became because the nuns allowed the students to explore their “social justice roots.”

The nuns “send us out in the community to see what life was like for other people in Dallas,” she said. “The motto of the school is Serviam (Latin for “I will serve.”) They have this belief that one person can make a difference in somebody else’s life.”

Ursuline also provided Gates with very strong female role models, she said.

“I write about this Ursuline teacher, Mrs. Susan Bauer. She saw computers when there were very few personal computers out there, and she instantly went to the head nun and advocated to get them for girls in the school. She believed that girls could code when hardly anybody was coding, girls or boys,” Gates said. 

Gates also attributed one of her sentences in her book to what she learned from Ursuline nuns. In her book, Gates wrote, “To bring about a revolution of the heart, you have to let your heart break.”

Gates said the Usruline nuns sent students out into the community to help others, but they also provided a small chapel on campus for girls to have quiet reflective time.

“It wasn’t fancy at all,” Gates said. “It was just a classroom that was darkened, but there was often a tiny little altar there and a candle that was lit. You could go in and have quiet reflective time. It’s in that bearing witness that we understand that we truly all are one.”

Gates is a Dallas native and graduated from Ursuline Academy of Dallas as the valedictorian of the class of 1982. She then went to Duke University, where she earned bachelor’s degrees in computer science and economics and later an MBA. She and Bill married in 1994 and have three children together.

You can read the entire Dallas Morning News interview here.