Michelle Obama was born on January 17, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. She attended Princeton University, graduating cum laude in 1985, and went on to earn a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1988.
Following law school, she worked at a Chicago law firm, where she met her husband, President Barack Obama. The couple married on October 3, 1992. As first lady, she has focused her attention on current social issues.
But before she was a mother — or a wife, lawyer or public servant — she was Fraser and Marian Robinson’s daughter.
Michelle was raised on Chicago’s South Side in a one-bedroom apartment. Her father, Fraser Robinson, was a city pump operator and a Democratic precinct captain. Her mother, Marian, was a Spiegel’s secretary who later stayed home to raise Michelle and her older brother, Craig. The family has been described as a close-knit one that shared family meals, read and played games together.
The Robinsons lived in a brick bungalow on the South Side of Chicago. Fraser was a pump operator for the Chicago Water Department, and despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at a young age, he hardly ever missed a day of work. Marian stayed home to raise Michelle and her older brother Craig, skillfully managing a busy household filled with love, laughter, and important life lessons.
A product of Chicago public schools, Mrs. Obama studied sociology and African-American studies at Princeton University. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1988, she joined the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin, where she later met the man who would become the love of her life.
After a few years, Mrs. Obama decided her true calling was working with people to serve their communities and their neighbors. She served as assistant commissioner of planning and development in Chicago’s City Hall before becoming the founding executive director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program that prepares youth for public service.
In 1996, Mrs. Obama joined the University of Chicago with a vision of bringing campus and community together. As Associate Dean of Student Services, she developed the university’s first community service program, and under her leadership as Vice President of Community and External Affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center, volunteerism skyrocketed.
Promoting Service and working with young people has remained a staple of her career and her interest. Continuing this effort now as First Lady, Mrs. Obama in 2010 launched Let’s Move!, a campaign to bring together community leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, moms and dads in a nationwide effort to tackle the challenge of childhood obesity.
Let’s Move! has an ambitious but important goal: to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation.
Let’s Move! will give parents the support they need, provide healthier food in schools, help our kids to be more physically active, and make healthy, affordable food available in every part of our country.
In 2011, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden together launched Joining Forces, a nationwide initiative that mobilizes all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned, and to raise awareness of military families’ unique needs as pertains to employment, education and wellness. Joining Forces has been working hand in hand with American businesses who are committed to answering the President’s challenge to hire or train 100,000 unemployed veterans and military spouses by 2013.
As First Lady, Mrs. Obama looks forward to continuing her work on the issues close to her heart — 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.
Michelle and Barack Obama have two daughters: Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11. Like their mother, the girls were born on the South Side of Chicago.
My mother’s love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion, her intelligence reflected in my daughters. Michelle Obama
One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.
When people ask First Lady Michelle Obama to describe herself, she doesn’t hesitate to say that first and foremost, she is Malia and Sasha’s mom.
“Every day, the people I meet inspire me. Every day they make me proud, every day they remind me how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation on Earth. Serving as your first lady is an honor and a privilege.” Michelle Obama