(January 17, 1964)
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is the wife of the 44th and current President of the United States, Barack Obama, and is the first African-American First Lady of the United States. As the First Lady, she has become a fashion icon and role model for women, and a promoter of poverty awareness, nutrition and healthy eating.
Michelle Robinson was born on January 17, 1964, in Chicago, Illinois. Michelle grew up in Chicago’s South Shore community area. She was raised in what she describes as a “conventional” home, with “the mother at home, the father works, and you have dinner around the table”. She skipped the second grade and by sixth grade had joined a gifted class at her Elementary School. In her high school years, she was on the honor roll for all four years, took advanced placement classes, was a member of the National Honor Society and served as student council treasurer. She graduated in 1981 as the salutatorian of her class.
Michelle went on to attend Princeton University, inspired by her brother who also attended the ivy-league university. While there, she majored in sociology and minored in African American studies and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in 1985. She earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Harvard Law School in 1988. She is the third First Lady with a postgraduate degree, after her two immediate predecessors, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Laura Bush.
She met Barack Obama when they were among the few African Americans at their law firm; she was assigned to mentor him as a summer associate. They married in October 1992, and have two daughters, Malia Ann, born 1998, and Natasha (known as Sasha), who was born in 2001.
Following law school, she was an associate at the Chicago office of the law firm Sidley Austin. There, she worked on marketing and intellectual property. In 1991, she held public positions in the Chicago city government as an Assistant to the Mayor, and as Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Development.
In 1993, she became Executive Director for the Chicago office of Public Allies, a non-profit organization encouraging young people to work on social issues in nonprofit groups and government agencies. She worked there nearly four years and set fundraising records for the organization that still stood 12 years after her departure.
In 1996, she served as the Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago, where she developed the University’s Community Service Center. In 2002, she began working for the University of Chicago Hospitals, first as executive director for community affairs and, beginning May 2005, as Vice President for Community and External Affairs. She continued to hold the University of Chicago Hospitals position during the primary campaign, but cut back to part time in order to spend time with her daughters as well as work for her husband’s election.
In May 2007, three months after her husband declared his presidential candidacy; she reduced her professional responsibilities by 80 percent to support him in his presidential campaign.
With the rise of her husband as a prominent national politician, Michelle Obama has become a part of popular culture. In May 2006, Essence listed her among “25 of the World’s Most Inspiring Women.” She has been compared to Jacqueline Kennedy due to her sense of style, and also to Barbara Bush for her discipline and modesty.
After a year as First Lady, she embarked on her first lead role in an administration-wide initiative. Her goal was to make progress in reversing the 21st century trend of childhood obesity. She stated that her goal is to make this effort her legacy: “I want to leave something behind that we can say, ‘Because of this time that this person spent here, this thing has changed.’ And my hope is that that’s going to be in the area of childhood obesity.” She coined the name of the movement “Let’s Move!” Although pone of her major initiatives, this effort does not supersede her other efforts, which include, supporting military families, helping working women balance career and family, encouraging national service, promoting the arts and arts education, and fostering healthy eating and healthy living for children and families across the country.
She has truly become an icon and role model for women and girls everywhere.
- First Lady Michelle Obama To Deliver HBCU Graduation Speech (hellobeautiful.com)
- Michelle Obama On Why African-Americans Have To Work Harder To Be Healthy [EXCLUSIVE] (therussparrmorningshow.com)
- Style Focus: Michelle Obama (passionistahub.wordpress.com)