Michelle and Barack Obama
Best known as the wife of Presidential candidate Barack Obama, Michelle Robinson Obama is an accomplished professional with an impressive resume of her own. Outspoken, intelligent, and articulate, she can give passionate speeches on the campaign trail without benefit of any written notes. Her blunt, forthright style can sometimes result in “sound bites” which can be controversial.
Born January 17, 1964 to Frasier Robinson, a pump operator for the city of Chicago’s water plant, and Marian Robinson, who spent much of Michelle’s childhood a homemaker, Michelle grew up on Chicago’s South Side, one of the nation’s poorest urban communities. Her parents strictly limited their children’s television viewing, and Michelle and her brother Craig (now basketball coach at Brown University) were expected to take part in discussions around the family dinner table.
Excelling in school, Michelle attended Princeton University, graduating cum laude in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, and a minor in African American Studies. Her senior thesis was based on surveys of black alumni. She earned her Juris Doctorate at Harvard Law School in 1988. After law school, she spent three years at the Chicago law firm of Sidney and Austin, where in 1989 she met summer intern Barack Obama, her future husband.
Leaving the corporate law world in 1991, Michelle pursued a series of positions in public service, serving as assistant to the mayor of Chicago and as assistant commissioner of planning and development for the city of Chicago. In 1993, she became founding Executive Director of Public Allies-Chicago, a leadership training program helping young adults develop skills for future careers in the public sector.
Since 1996, she has been associated with the University of Chicago, first as associate dean of student services, and in 2005 becoming vice president for community and external affairs at the University of Chicago’s Medical Center, as well as managing the business diversity program. She has worked to bridge the gap between the University and the residents of the surrounding disadvantaged neighborhood, focusing on the opening of neighborhood medical clinics. In January 2008 she took a leave of absence to concentrate on the demands of the Presidential race of her husband.
Barack Obama and Michelle were married in October 1992, and have two young daughters, Malia and Sasha. Michelle gives credit to her mother as her role model – paying respect to their differing choices as homemaker and career professional. It is her widowed mother who cares for the Obama children while Michelle and her husband pursue their careers and now the Presidency.
Model-tall (5’11”) and stylish as well as a successful mother, wife, and professional, Michelle was named in Essence magazine in May 2006 as one of “25 of the World’s Most Inspiring Women.” She has described herself as “too impatient” for a political career of her own, but with her husband’s presidential campaign, her intelligence, wit, and passion have a national if not worldwide platform.
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Michelle and Barack Obama