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First Lady Michelle Obama

Early Life and Career

Michelle Robinson Obama was born in DeYoung, Illinois, on January 17, 1964, to parents Frasier Robinson III and Marian Shields. She grew up in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood with her older brother Craig, attending Chicago Public Schools and quickly joining gifted classes in elementary school.Mrs. Obama graduated in 1981 as class salutatorian from Whitney Young High School, Chicago’s first magnet high school. She followed her brother to Princeton University in New Jersey, graduating cum laude in 1985. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Sociology with a minor in African-American Studies, which informed her senior thesis: “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community.”

In 1988, Mrs. Obama received her law degree from Harvard Law School. Following graduation, she was hired by the Chicago corporate-law firm of Sidley & Austin, where she specialized in entertainment law, and was ultimately assigned as advisor to summer associate Barack Obama. After leaving Sidley & Austin in 1993, Mrs. Obama worked for the city of Chicago’s Department of Planning and later the national service organization Public Allies.

Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson were married in 1992 at Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. They have two daughters, Malia and Natasha “Sasha.”

Mrs. Obama accepted the position of Associate Dean of Students at the University of Chicago in 1996, where she also served as director of the University Community Student Center. In 2002, she became the University of Chicago Hospital’s Director of Community Affairs, and was promoted to Vice President of External Affairs and Community Relations in 2005.

At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Mrs. Obama was introduced by her brother, Craig Robinson, and delivered an address to the convention.