Patty Stonesifer


Honorary Degree (2007)
Doctor of Humane Letters
20th Anniversary Center on Philantrhopy
Location: Indianapolis
Presenter: Adam William Herbert


Patty Stonesifer has distinguished herself as a key leader in both business and philanthropy. Her contributions to the development and impact of global philanthropy are varied and innumerable.

After a successful career as a senior vice president at Microsoft (during which Time magazine named her one of the most influential people in America in 1996), Stonesifer organized and launched Bill & Melinda Gates' first private foundation. As CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Stonesifer assembled and guided a team of experts to build programs focused on bringing technology to underserved communities, improving public schools and eradicating the world's most serious diseases. She directed the development of the organization into the largest private foundation in the world, emphasizing strategic partnerships, the exchanging of ideas, evaluation, and transparency. Warren Buffett identified the Gates Foundation's operations as exemplary and in 2006 pledged to contribute more than $30 billion dollars to its mission during the next 10 years.

In 2012, Stonesifer completed a three-year term as Chair of the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents. She actively serves as a volunteer with a number of community nonprofit organizations, and she previously participated in the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on AIDS as a U.S. delegate.

A native of Indianapolis, Stonesifer is an IU graduate. In 2007, she was awarded an honorary degree from her alma mater.