First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama was born on January 17, 1964 on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. Her father, Fraser Robinson, was a pump operator for the Chicago Water Department. Although he suffered from multiple sclerosis, he continued to work to support his family. Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson was a stay-at-home mother who raised Michelle and her older brother, Craig Robinson.
Michelle Obama graduated from the Chicago Public Schools and began her collegiate studies at Princeton, where she majored in sociology and African-American Studies. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 1968 and met her future husband shortly after while working for a Chicago-based law firm.
In the 1990s, Mrs. Obama held several impressive positions in the public sector. In 1991, she was Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Development. In 1993, she served as Executive Director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program that provides internships to young people interested in working for nonprofit organizations and public service agencies. Mrs. Obama was the Associate Dean of Student Services for the University of Chicago beginning in 1996 and, in that position, developed the University of Chicago’s Community Service Center. In 2002, Mrs. Obama led the University of Chicago Medical Center’s community efforts as Vice President of Community and External Affairs, but within a few years, reduced her workload to promote her husband’s campaign.
When asked to describe herself, Mrs. Obama always says that she is Malia and Sasha’s mom before anything else. Raising her daughters is important to Mrs. Obama, and her public efforts as First Lady certainly echo her family values. Mrs. Obama is perhaps best known for her efforts to promote healthy eating habits among children. Her campaign, Let’s Move!, has created a national effort that unites community leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, parents, and children in an effort to combat childhood obesity. Let’s Move! promotes efforts to serve healthier food in schools, help children stay physically active, and make healthy and affordable food readily available across the country.
Mrs. Obama also works to support military families, promote women balancing careers and family, encourage Americans to serve their country in the public sector, and advocate for the arts and arts education.