Francine Patterson graduated from Uni as a part of the Class of 1965. During her time at Uni, Patterson was a member of many student organizations, like the science club and tape club. She was also a member of the student exchange committee, where some students had the opportunity to be exchanged with others at neighboring schools.
After graduating from Uni, Patterson got her bachelor's degree in psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, before getting her Ph.D. from Stanford University. Patterson wrote her dissertation on teaching sign language to Koko, a gorilla. Today, Patterson is most widely recognized for teaching a modified form of American Sign language to Koko the gorilla. Patterson is also the President and Research Director of The Gorilla Foundation.