Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama, (born January 17, 1964) is the wife of the forty-fourth President of the United States, Barack Obama and the First Lady of the United States. The Obamas have been married since 1992. She is the mother of two daughters, Malia and Sasha, and is the sister of Craig Robinson, men's basketball coach at Oregon State University.
Family and Education
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson was born on January 17, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. Her father was Fraser Robinson III who was a city water plant employee and Democratic precinct captain. Her mother was Marian Shields Robinson who was a secretary at Spiegel's catalog store. Her mother was a full-time homemaker until Michelle entered high school. The Robinson and Shields families can trace their roots to pre-Civil War African Americans in the American South. Her paternal great-great grandfather, Jim Robinson, was an American slave in the state of South Carolina, where some of her paternal family still resides. Her maternal great-great-great grandmother was Melvinia Shields who was also a slave. She gave birth to Michelle's biracial maternal great-great grandfather, Dolphus T. Shields.
Michelle grew up on Euclid Avenue in the South Shore community area of Chicago and was raised in what she describes as a "conventional" home. The family entertained together by playing games such as Monopoly and by reading. She and her brother, Craig skipped the second grade. By sixth grade, Michelle joined a gifted class at Bryn Mawr Elementary School (later renamed Bouchet Academy).
She attended Whitney Young High School, Chicago's first magnet high school, where she was on the honor roll for four years, took advanced placement classes, was a member of the National Honor Society and served as student council treasurer. She was a high school classmate of Santita Jackson, the daughter of Jesse Jackson and sister of Jesse Jackson, Jr. She graduated from high school in 1981 as salutatorian.
Michelle proceeded to attend Princeton University. As part of her requirements for graduation, she wrote a thesis entitled, "Princeton Educated Blacks and the Black Community." "I remember being shocked," she says, "by college students who drove BMWs. I didn't even know parents who drove BMWs." Robinson 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. While at Harvard, she participated in political demonstrations advocating the hiring of professors who were members of minorities.
While at Sidley & Austin, Michelle met Barack Obama. She mentored Obama as a summer associate. They first started their relationship at a business luncheon and from there it continued at a community organization meeting where Obama first really caught her attention. They were married in October of 1992 by Reverend Jeremiah Wright at Trinity United Church of Christ and they now have two daughters, Malia Ann who was born in 1998 and Natasha who was born in 2001. After his election to the U.S. Senate, the Obama family continued to live on Chicago's South Side, choosing to remain there rather than moving to Washington, D.C. Michelle is the sister of Craig Robinson who is a men's basketball coach at Oregon State University. She is the first cousin, once removed, of Rabbi Capers C. Funnye Jr., one of the country’s most prominent black rabbis.
She once requested that her then-fiancé meet her prospective boss, Valerie Jarrett, when considering her first career move. Now Jarrett is one of her husband’s closest advisors.
The Obamas' daughters attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. The Obamas' daughters now attend Sidwell Friends School in Washington. Marian Robinson has moved into the White House to assist with child care.
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley
Michelle held public sector positions in the Chicago city government as an Assistant to Mayor Richard M. Daley starting in 1991. Valerie Jarrett, then deputy chief of staff, remembers interviewing Michelle for an assistant's job in the chief of staff's office:
- "The moment I met her I knew immediately we would be lucky to have her," said Jarrett, who has since vacationed with the Obamas in Martha's Vineyard. "I was instantly impressed. I think I offered her a job at the end of the first meeting."
- Before she signed up, Michelle told Jarrett her fiance wanted to meet her "so he could figure out if he was comfortable with her going to work for Mayor Daley.
During this time she also served as Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Development for the city of Chicago.
More from Valerie Jarrett:
- The move was not without its benefits. Michelle Obama's stint at the mayor's office gave her, and her husband, access to Chicago's political class. Combined with her own Southside roots — she went to high school with Santita Jackson, the Rev. Jesse Jackson's daughter — Michelle's job gave her husband entrée into the best political machine in Illinois, augmenting her ties to Jackson's powerful civil rights group, Rainbow Coalition.
- "Michelle is a tremendous asset," says Habitat Inc. CEO Valerie Jarrett, a close friend of both Obamas and a key campaign adviser. As Daley's deputy chief of staff at the time, Jarrett hired Michelle to help troubleshoot for companies having problems navigating the city's bureaucracy. "Her being from Chicago, from the Southside of Chicago, was an asset to Barack in terms of enhancing his ties to the community."
In 1993, Michelle served as the Founding Executive Director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program that "prepares young people for public service." She served there until the Fall of 1996. She also served on their national board of directors from 1997 until 2001. They are 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 she left.
From Public Allies:
- Under Michelle’s leadership, Public Allies Chicago pioneered many elements of Public Allies’ program model. To identify and develop the next generation of Chicago leaders, she recruited young people from housing projects and youth centers as well colleges and universities. Her emphasis on indigenous leadership and belief that all people have potential to lead became a core value of our leadership philosophy. When she left, Public Allies Chicago had a cash reserve, a committed board, a talented young staff and a network of diverse, talented young leaders in Chicago who continue to serve the community today. Michelle was also a pioneer in the social entrepreneur movement – leaders who create new approaches and organizations to provide new solutions to social problems.
- At her subsequent jobs at the University of Chicago and University of Chicago Medical Center, Michelle hired more than a dozen Public Allies to work with her. In addition, she has continued to advise, coach, donate to and champion Public Allies. President-elect Obama has also been an active volunteer and supporter. President-elect Obama has trained several classes of Allies in community organizing, spoken at Public Allies Chicago events and helped Senator Durbin secure an appropriation from the Department of Justice that successfully helped us better recruit and retain young men of color for our Chicago program and learn practices we are applying nationally.
- Michelle Obama and Public Allies CEO Paul Schmitz were also original faculty members of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University, led by John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann. John McKnight worked with Barack Obama as an organizer and wrote his Harvard Law School recommendation (see Audacity of Hope, page 360). The Institute has a strategic alliance with Public Allies’ consulting group, The Leadership Practice, through which we provide training and consulting services on how to better identify and mobilize local community assets and participation to strengthen communities.
Sidley & Austin LLP
After graduating from Princeton and Harvard Law School in 1988, Michelle Obama worked with Bernardine Dohrn at Sidley & Austin, the law firm where she and Barack met. Michelle worked on marketing and intellectual property. Dorn is the wife of William Ayers, one of the founders of the Weather Underground and a friend and associate of Barack Obama. Bernadine Dohrn, Bill Ayer's wife, took credit for the bombings in New York by the Weather Underground.
TreeHouse Foods, Inc.
Michelle served as a salaried board member of TreeHouse Foods, Inc. (NYSE: THS), a major Wal-Mart supplier with whom she cut ties immediately after her husband made comments critical of Wal-Mart at an AFL-CIO forum in Trenton, New Jersey, on May 14, 2007.
University of Chicago
In 1996, Michelle 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; she subsequently took a leave of absence from her job. According to the couple’s 2006 income tax return, her salary was $273,618 from the University of Chicago Hospitals, while her husband had a salary of $157,082 from the United States Senate. The total Obama income, however, was $991,296, which included $51,200 she earned as a member of the board of directors of TreeHouse Foods, Inc. and investments and royalties from Barack Obama's books.
2008 Presidential Election
In May 2007, three months after Michelle's husband declared his presidential candidacy, she reduced her professional responsibilities by 80 percent to support his presidential campaign. Early in the campaign, she had limited involvement in which she traveled to political events only two days a week and traveled overnight only if their daughters could come along. By early February 2008 her participation had increased significantly, attending thirty-three events in eight days. She made several campaign appearances with Oprah Winfrey. She wrote her own stump speeches for her husband's presidential campaign and generally spoke without notes. She did not use a teleprompter.
During the campaign, Michelle was perceived as an "angry black woman." This prompted her to respond: "Barack and I have been in the public eye for many years now, and we've developed a thick skin along the way. When you’re out campaigning, there will always be criticism. I just take it in stride, and at the end of the day, I know that it comes with the territory." A concerted effort was then made to make Michelle appear more like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis than a militant feminist.
On February 18, 2008, Michelle commented in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that: "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback." Later that evening, she reworded her stump speech in Madison, Wisconsin, saying: "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change." Several commentators criticized her remarks and the campaign issued a statement that "anyone who heard her remarks ... would understand that she was commenting on our politics."
On the first night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Craig Robinson introduced his younger sister. She delivered her speech, during which she sought to portray herself and her family as the embodiment of the American Dream. Obama said both she and her husband believed "that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, and you do what you say you're going to do, that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them."
On E.D. Hill's Fox News show America's Pulse, Hill referred to the fist bump shared by the Obamas on the night that he clinched the Democratic presidential nomination as a "terrorist fist jab." In June 2008, Hill was removed from her duties on the specific show, which was then canceled.
Political Activism While in the White House
On Feb. 9, 2010, Michelle Obama formally announced her Let's Move program to combat childhood obesity. She claims her program can end the American plague of childhood obesity in a single generation.
The program calls for initiatives that focus on what Michelle calls her four key pillars: Getting parents more informed about nutrition and exercise, improving the quality of food in schools, making healthy foods more affordable and accessible for families and focusing more on physical education.
President Obama signed a presidential memorandum to create the first-ever federal task force to provide "optimal coordination" between private sector companies, not-for-profits, agencies within the government and other organizations to address the problem of childhood obesity. This gives a level of regulation for controlling food, etc. in schools and for American children, not to mention in American homes, unheard of before in the US. This task force will instill a level of surveillance on children and families that is staggering and oppressive. The task force will come up with a long-term action plan to implement regulations and oversight after thoroughly reviewing federal nutrition programs.
Let's Move will allegedly engage every sector impacting the health of children to achieve the national goal and will provide schools, families and communities simple tools to help kids be more active, eat better and get healthy.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
- The First Lady launched the Let's Move campaign at the White House where she was joined by members of the President's cabinet, including Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, HHS Secretary Sebelius, Education Secretary Duncan, HUD Secretary Donovan, Labor Secretary Solis and Interior Secretary Salazar, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, members of Congress, mayors from across the nation and leaders from the media, medical, sports, entertainment and business communities who impact the health of children and want to be part of the solution. Program participants included: Tiki Barber, NBC correspondent and former NFL football player; Dr. Judith Palfrey, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Will Allen, Founder and CEO of Growing Power; Mayor Curtatone of Somerville, Massachusetts; Mayor Chip Johnson of Hernando, Mississippi; and local students, including a student from DC's Bancroft elementary school, and members of the 2009 National Championship Pee-Wee football team, the Watkins Hornets.
- Let's Move is comprehensive, collaborative and community-oriented and will include strategies to address the various factors that lead to childhood obesity. It will foster collaboration among the leaders in government, medicine and science, business, education, athletics, community organizations and more. And it will take into account how life is really lived in communities across the country - encouraging, supporting and pursuing solutions that are tailored to children and families facing a wide range of challenges and life circumstances.
President Obama also plans to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act and is proposing a $10 billion budget increase - $1 billion a year for 10 years - to help provide nutritious school lunches to those who qualify.
From Michelle Malkin:
- The well-intended program to feed poor kids has morphed into an untouchable universal entitlement with a powerful school-lunch lobbying coalition of Department of Agriculture bureaucrats, food-service industry executives and union bosses. Enter the SEIU. Headed by the White House's most frequent visitor, Andy Stern, the powerful labor organization representing government and private service employees has an insatiable appetite for power and growth. Working alongside the first lady, the SEIU unveiled a major ad campaign this week demanding reauthorizing and funding increases in the Child Nutrition Act.
- What's in it for Big Labor? SEIU Executive Vice President Mitch Ackerman explains: "A more robust expansion of school lunch, breakfast, summer feeding, child care and WIC (the federal Women, Infants and Children nutrition program) is critical to reducing hunger, ending childhood obesity and (SET ITAL) providing fair wages and healthcare for front line food service workers (END ITAL)(emphasis added)."
- There are 400,000 workers who prepare and serve lunch to American schoolchildren. SEIU represents tens of thousands of those workers and is trying to unionize many more. "More robust expansion" of the federal school-lunch law means a mandate for higher wages, increased benefits and government-guaranteed health insurance coverage (the more luxurious the better now that SEIU has negotiated its Cadillac Tax exemption from the Democrats' health care takeover bill).
This makes it clear that the ones who really benefit most from this are big labor unions who will swell their membership rolls and coffers with dues, kickbacks and government funding.
Michelle Obama along with Education Secretary Arne Duncan have stressed the need for millions of dollars more in education spending. The first lady is also lauding her husband's economic stimulus package, saying it will prevent layoffs and education cuts, create jobs and make college more affordable.
While visiting the Department of Education, Michelle had this to say:
- "I am a product of your work," Obama said. "I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the public schools that nurtured me and helped me along. And I am committed, as well as my husband, to ensuring that more kids like us and kids around this country, regardless of their race, their income, their status, their -- the property values in their neighborhoods, get access to an outstanding education."
One of Michelle Obama's favorite topics is eating right. In that vein, she has promoted organic, backyard gardens, bee hives and worked against what she terms as 'food deserts.' Places where it is deemed there are a lack of options for healthy eating, i.e. too many fast food outlets and not enough good grocery stores offering organic foods. This activism is tied directly to her anti-obesity movement.
In September of 2009, Michelle decided to visit a farmer's market to get fresh, organic produce and set a good example for America. Unfortunately, it did not turn out quite the way she expected and shed an unflattering light on the White House and the first couple. From The Washington Post:
- The Secret Service and the D.C. police brought in three dozen vehicles and shut down H Street, Vermont Avenue, two lanes of I Street and an entrance to the McPherson Square Metro station. They swept the area, in front of the Department of Veterans Affairs, with bomb-sniffing dogs and installed magnetometers in the middle of the street, put up barricades to keep pedestrians out, and took positions with binoculars atop trucks. Though the produce stand was only a block or so from the White House, the first lady hopped into her armored limousine and pulled into the market amid the wail of sirens.
- Then, and only then, could Obama purchase her leafy greens. "Now it's time to buy some food," she told several hundred people who came to watch. "Let's shop!"
- Cowbells were rung. Somebody put a lei of marigolds around Obama's neck. The first lady picked up a straw basket and headed for the "Farm at Sunnyside" tent, where she loaded up with organic Asian pears, cherry tomatoes, multicolored potatoes, free-range eggs and, yes, two bunches of Tuscan kale. She left the produce with an aide, who paid the cashier as Obama made her way back to the limousine.
- There's nothing like the simple pleasures of a farm stand to return us to our agrarian roots.
- The first lady had encouraged Freshfarm Markets, the group that runs popular farmers markets in Dupont Circle and elsewhere, to set up near the White House, and she helped get the approvals to shut down Vermont Avenue during rush hour on Thursdays. But the result was quite the opposite of a quaint farmers market. Considering all the logistics, each tomato she purchased had a carbon footprint of several tons.
Michelle has campaigned for an increase in military pay and benefits. She has also visited numerous military families and invited them to the White House for events. She is also concerned with military spouses and the families left behind while soldiers serve their country.
Meeting with military families is high on her agenda and she formally reports what she learns to President Obama. She is portraying herself as an advocate of military families. In her travels, she has also visited military bases and visited with the troops.
Military spouses and families however, were also used as campaign fodder for the election of Barack Obama with Michelle Obama in the lead. This is widely viewed in the military community as inappropriate conduct and political manipulation. An excerpt from Michelle Malkin:
- Some BSFOs are known to be contacting other military wives, urging them to take part in a political event; the rough equivalent of “undue command pressure” — unacceptable behavior considering that spouses of junior officers or enlisted personnel can sometimes be intimidated by a request or admonition from the wife of a senior officer or enlisted military member. After all, the senior officers and enlisted write or have input on the fitness reports for those under their purview (“I can’t cross the chief officer’s or master sergeant’s wife; her husband holds my husband’s career in his hands”).
- Since the military member cannot take part in publicly supporting a particular candidate, it has always been understood among military wives that it is also inappropriate for a military member’s spouse to use her position in the military community to solicit others toward her personal political views via access she has gained to e-mail addresses, phone numbers and other networking avenues available to her within the military context.
Michelle Obama majored in sociology at Princeton University in the early 1980s.
- Her commitment to serving her community was nurtured at Princeton as she served on the Third World Center's governing board and was coordinator of its after-school program. The center, now known as the Fields Center, was established in 1971 to provide a social, cultural and political environment that was responsive to issues of ethnic and racial diversity.
In 1985, Michelle Obama wrote a senior thesis, titled "Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community" under her maiden name, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson.
The thesis is on racial divide.
Excerpts from Michelle's Thesis:
- "Predominately white universities like Princeton are socially and academically designed to cater to the needs of the white students comprising the bulk of their enrollments."
- "[My Princeton experiences], will likely lead to my further integration and/or assimilation into a White cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant."
- "I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my white professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don't belong. Regardless of the circumstances under which I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second."
- "Earlier in my college career, there was no doubt in my mind that as a member of the Black community I was somehow obligated to this community and would utilize all of my present and future resources to benefit this community first and foremost."
- "In defining the concept of identification or the ability to identify with the black community … I based my definition on the premise that there is a distinctive black culture very different from white culture."
- During a February 18, 2008 speech in Milwaukee on behalf of her husband's presidential campaign, Mrs. Obama declared, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."
- In March 2008 a New Yorker profile quoted Mrs. Obama saying, in a stump speech she had made in South Carolina, that the United States is "just downright mean" as a nation. "We have become a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day," she told churchgoers in that same state. "Folks are just jammed up, and it's gotten worse over my lifetime."
- "The truth is most Americans don't want much. Folks don't want the whole pie. Most Americans feel blessed to thrive a little bit — but that's out of reach for them. In order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more."
- "We left corporate America," Mrs. Obama added, "which is a lot of what we're asking young people to do. Don't go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we're encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond."
Michelle was instrumental in the firing of IG, Gerald Walpin, the Americorps Inspector who handled an investigation into Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, CA. Walpin alleged that Johnson and his nonprofit group, St. HOPE Academy, received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants from the Corporation for National Community Service. The corporation runs the Americorps program. From Michelle Malkin:
- The inspector general (IG) of the Corporation for National and Community Service is being removed by President Barack Obama, a week after the IG questioned the eligibility of the largest and most expensive Americorps program, and while the IG was contesting the “propriety” of a settlement made with a mayor for alleged misuse of Americorps funds.
- …Funding for the largest Americorps program – the Teaching Fellows Program, run by the Research Foundation of the City University of New York – is in abeyance pending resolution of widespread problems identified in a recent audit. Although Walpin recommended that funding be curtailed and that previous funds (perhaps as much as $75 million) be repaid to the corporation, the corporation has said it will take no action on that matter.
- Walpin concluded that nothing was being gained by the grants to CUNY and that the money was simply being used to subsidize an existing and funded program.
More on the First Lady’s role in installing Norris and intervening to help pick the next Americorps CEO:
- First Lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, Jackie Norris, is being sent to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) in what is both a White House shake-up and an indication of the first lady’s sway over the corporation that oversees Americorps, Learn & Serve America and the Senior Corps.
- Observers believe Norris, whom Obama came to know early in the Iowa caucus campaign, was forced out of the White House so that long-time Obama friend Susan Sher could take over. But those same observers see her appointment as senior adviser to the corporation as an overall win for CNCS, believing that Norris still will have a straight line to the White House.
- CNCS remains without a CEO after the withdrawal last month of Nike vice president Maria Eitel, even before her nomination went to the Senate. Although the corporation’s CEO must be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, Michelle Obama reportedly has taken the lead in selecting the nominee.
Chicago Council on Global Affairs
- The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, founded in 1922 as The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, is a leading independent, nonpartisan organization committed to influencing the discourse on global issues through contributions to opinion and policy formation, leadership dialogue and public learning.
- The Chicago Council brings the world to Chicago by hosting public programs and private events featuring world leaders and experts with diverse views on a wide range of global topics. Through task forces, conferences, studies and leadership dialogue, the Council brings Chicago’s ideas and opinions to the world.
2010 Board of Directors for CCGA:
- Lester Crown BOARD CHAIRMAN
Chairman, Henry Crown and Company
- John F. Manley BOARD VICE CHAIRMAN
President, Chicago City Capital Group, Inc.
- Michael H. Moskow BOARD VICE CHAIRMAN
Senior Fellow on the Global Economy, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
- Shirley Welsh Ryan BOARD VICE CHAIRMAN
Chairman, Pathways Awareness Foundation
- Leah Zell Wanger BOARD TREASURER
President and Lead Portfolio Manager, Lizard Investors LLC
- Jeffrey C. Neal BOARD SECRETARY
Founding Partner, Horizon Capital Advisors, LLC
- Marshall M. Bouton PRESIDENT
President, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Vice President, Booz & Company
Vice Chair and Midwest Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, World Color Press
Chief Operating Officer, Aon Corporation
Group President, McDonald’s Canada and Latin America, McDonald's Corporation
President, Mileage Plus, United Airlines
President Emeritus, Northwestern University
Senior Vice President, Philanthropy, McCormick Foundation
Founder, General Welfare Group, LLC
President and Chief Executive Officer, Harris Financial Corp.
Chairman of the Midwest Region, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Partner, Mayer Brown LLP
Chief Executive Officer, CME Group
President and Chief Executive Officer, William Blair & Company
President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary, Medtronic, Inc.
Co-Chief Executive Officer, Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC
Partner, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP
Chairman, Harrison Street Capital LLC
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Corn Products International, Inc.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Rosenthal Collins Group, LLC
President and Chief Executive Officer, Everett Smith Group, Ltd.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Matlock Capital, LLC
Retired Chairman, Bank One Corporation
Senior Managing Director, Ziegler Capital Management, LLC
John Evans Professor of International History and Politics, Department of Political Science, Northwestern University
Managing Officer and Chairman of the Board, A.T. Kearney, Inc.
Director, McKinsey & Company
Chairman, Parson Capital Corporation
Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Tribune Company
Former Chairman, Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy
Former U.S. Secretary of Labor
President and Chief Operating Officer, Molex Incorporated
President, Schwarz Supply Source
Executive Vice President, Atlantic Trust Private Wealth Management
Partner, Baker & McKenzie LLP
Retired Partner, Goldman, Sachs & Co.
President, Ancora Associates, Inc.
- Michelle Obama
First Lady of the United States
Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Northern Trust Corporation
Founder and Executive Director, Interfaith Youth Core
Chairman, Jones Lang LaSalle
Professor of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law
Former President and Chief Executive Officer, Clipper Windpower, Inc.
Partner, Corporate, Kirkland & Ellis LLP
President and Founder, WomenOnCall.org
President and Chief Executive Officer, The Marmon Group LLC
Partner, Sidley Austin LLP
President, Querrey Enterprises
Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Westside Holdings
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Exelon Corporation
Director, McKinsey & Company
Chairman and President, Dr. Scholl Foundation
Retired Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Corn Products International, Inc.
Chairman, Evans Food Group Ltd.
Vice Chair and Senior Executive, Chicago Metropolis 2020
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Illinois Tool Works, Inc.
Partner, Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Chairman, Board Advisors
Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Administration, The Boeing Company
Senior Vice President, Public Affairs & Communications, Motorola Inc.
Managing Director, Russell Reynolds Associates
Former President and Chief Executive Officer, The Chicago Board of Trade
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Northern Trust Corporation
President and Chief Executive Officer, Globe Union Group, Inc.
- Eric E. Whitaker, M.D., M.P.H.
Executive Vice President for Strategic Affiliations and Associate Dean for Community-Based Research, The University of Chicago Medical Center
President and Chief Executive Officer, Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.
Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Leo Burnett Worldwide
President and Trustee, The University of Chicago
HONORARY LIFE DIRECTORS
Retired Chairman, Sara Lee Corporation
Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Abbott Laboratories
Retired President and Chief Executive Officer, Sun-Times Media Group, Inc.
Managing Partner, KEL Enterprises, L.P.
Co-Chairman, Molex Incorporated
Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Kraft, Inc.
Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, Northwestern University
President and Dean, Vermont Law School
Retired Chairman, First Chicago NBD Corporation
Community Renewal Society
In 1999 the Chicago Community Renewal Society organized a CATALYST 10th Anniversary Prom, for Saturday, February 12, 2000, Grand Ballroom, Navy Pier:
- Michelle Obama - Assistant Dean, University of Chicago
In 2003, both Michelle Obama and Barack Obama were members of Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization.
Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization is a statewide independent progressive organization in Illinois. It was founded more than 50 years ago.
In 1992, Michelle married Barack Obama. The marriage ceremony was performed by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, pastor of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC), where the Obamas were members of the congregation for 20 years. (They would remain members of TUCC until 2008.) Wright also presided over the baptisms of the Obama's children.
Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright is a Marxist and is the former pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Wright is also a black theologist.
Marilyn Katz is a lifelong socialist revolutionary who stated that she “probably” rejects violence. She is also a close friend of Valerie Jarrett and of Barack and Michelle Obama. She visited the White House in July of 2009.
- Michelle Obama biographer Liza Mundy quotes Katz as saying the moment Jarrett introduced Michelle Obama to her friends, Michelle “was recognized as brilliant and beautiful, and immediately accepted into a very sophisticated social circle.” Mundy writes “Michelle and Barack…enjoyed a range of relations with people who shared their lifestyle, as well as their progressive views and political involvement. ‘These are folks,’ says Marilyn Katz, a member of their social circle, ‘who talk to their friends a number of times a day.” Katz repaid her friend by becoming a campaign bundler for Obama ‘08.
Radical Harvard Mentor, Charles Ogletree
Radical Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree claims to have mentored both Michelle Obama and Barack Obama during their respective periods at the Ivy League university. Barack Obama participated in Ogletree's Saturday School Program, which was designed to "expose minority students, in particular, to critical issues in the study of law." According to Ogletree, the Obama's have called on him for advice since that time.
- I met Michelle when she started her legal career here at Harvard in the fall of 1985 and I was able to watch her develop into a very strong and powerful student leader. She was an active member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, where she served as a student attorney for indigent clients who had civil cases and needed legal help...
- I met Barack three years later when he arrived at Harvard Law School in the fall of 1988. He was quiet and unassuming, but had an incredibly sharp mind and a thirst for knowledge. He was a regular participant in a program that I created called the Saturday School Program, which was a series of workshops and meetings held on Saturday mornings to expose minority students, in particular, to critical issues in the study of law. Even then I saw his ability to quickly grasp the most complicated legal issues and sort them out in a clear, concise fashion.
- I was faculty adviser to the Harvard Black Law Student Association. I routinely gave career advice, and often personal advice, to students who would come in with questions about where they should work, how they should use their legal skills and talent and was it possible to do well and do good... My advice to people like Barack and Michelle was that they could easily navigate the challenges of a corporate career and find a variety of ways to serve their community — through financial support, through volunteer legal services and through getting involved in community efforts. So this advice started then, and I guess it must have been useful enough. They have not hesitated to call on me over the past 20-plus years as needed.
Ogletree was a hard core radical with roots in the Maoist influenced Black Panthers movement. It also seems that Ogletree is still a militant leftist. He is still active with the Black Panthers movement.
Rashid and Mona Khalidi
- "A special tribute came from Khalidi's friend and frequent dinner companion, the young state Sen. Barack Obama. Speaking to the crowd, Obama reminisced about meals prepared by Khalidi's wife, Mona, and conversations that had challenged his thinking.
- "His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been ‘consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases…It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation – a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table,' but around ‘this entire world…'
It is obvious that the Obamas are friends with the Khalidis. In his capacity as a director of the Woods Fund, Barack Obama in 2001 and 2002 steered $75,000 to the Arab American Action Network. Mona Khalidi is the former President of the Arab American Action Network.
According to a Times account of the dinner and a tape that was never released, Obama refers to the fact that he and Michelle had been frequent dinner guests at the Khalidi home and that the Khalidis had even baby-sat for the Obama girls.
William Ayers/Bernardine Dohrn
On Nov. 20th, 1997, Michelle Obama, who was then Associate Dean of Student Services and Director of the University Community Service Center, invited William Ayers to speak on juvenile justice. The speech was concerning whether child murderers should be tried as adults. Ayers was joined by Barack Obama who also spoke during the event on working to combat legislation that would put more juvenile offenders into the adult system. Obama and Ayers spoke together at numerous events.
- A.T. Kearney, Inc.
- Abbott Laboratories
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- Amoco Corporation (now BP)
- Ancora Associates, Inc.
- Aon Corporation
- Arab American Action Network
- Asset-Based Community Development Institute
- Atlantic Trust Private Wealth Management
- Baker & McKenzie LLP
- Bank of America
- Black Panthers
- Board Advisors
- Booz & Company
- Campus Watch
- Chicago Annenberg Challenge
- Chicago Community Trust
- Chicago Council on Foreign Relations
- Chicago Council on Global Affairs
- Chicago-Kent College of Law
- Chicago Metropolis 2020
- Chicago Sun-Times
- Chicago Teachers Union
- Clipper Windpower, Inc.
- CME Group
- Commercial Club of Chicago
- Community Renewal Society
- Corn Products International, Inc.
- Corporation for National Community Service
- Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- Dr. Scholl Foundation
- Edelman Public Relations
- Ernst & Young LLP
- Evans Food Group Ltd.
- Everett Smith Group, Ltd.
- Exelon Corporation
- Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
- Fox News
- Freshfarm Markets
- General Welfare Group, LLC
- Goldman, Sachs & Co.
- Growing Power
- Habitat for Humanity Int'l
- Harris Financial Group
- Harrison Street Capital LLC
- Harvard Black Law Students Association
- Harvard Law School
- Harvard Legal Aid Bureau
- Horizon Capital Advisors, LLC
- Illinois Tool Works, Inc.
- Independent Voters of Illinois Independent Precinct Organization
- Interfaith Youth Core
- Jones Lang LaSalle
- JPMorgan Chase & Co.
- Kirkland & Ellis LLP
- Kraft, Inc.
- Learn & Serve America
- Leo Burnett Worldwide
- Lizard Investors LLC
- Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC
- Matlock Capital, LLC
- Mayer Brown LLP
- McCormick Foundation
- McDonald's Corporation
- McKinsey & Company
- Medtronic, Inc.
- Michelle Malkin
- Molex Incorporated
- Motorola Inc.
- Multi-Fac Corporation
- National Hook Up of Black Women
- New American Movement
- NewsReal Blog
- Northern Trust Corporation
- Northwest Neighborhood Federation
- Northwestern University
- Office of the Surgeon General (OSG)
- Oregon State University
- Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
- Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE)
- Pathways Awareness Foundation
- Polk Bros Foundation
- Princeton University
- Public Allies
- Querrey Enterprises
- Rainbow PUSH Coalition
- Research Foundation of the City University
- Richard M. Daley
- Robeson High School
- Rochelle Lee Fund
- Rosenthal Collins Group, LLC
- Russell Reynolds Associates
- Sara Lee Corporation
- Schwarz Supply Source
- SEIU - Service Employees International Union
- Senior Corps
- Sidley & Austin LLP
- Sidwell Friends School
- Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
- Small Schools Workshop
- Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP
- St. HOPE Academy
- Steans Family Foundation
- Sun-Times Media Group, Inc.
- The Boeing Company
- The Democratic Party
- The Marmon Group LLC
- The Washington Post
- The White House
- Third World Center
- TreeHouse Foods, Inc.
- Tribune Company
- Trinity United Church of Christ
- U.S. Department of Agriculture
- U.S. Department of Education
- U.S. Department of Labor
- U.S. Department of the Interior
- Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.
- Union League Club
- United Airlines
- United Neighborhood Organization
- United States Department of Health and Human Services
- University of Chicago
- University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
- University of Chicago Laboratory Schools
- University of Chicago Medical Center
- University of Illinois
- Vermont Law School
- Westside Holdings
- William Blair & Company
- Woods Fund
- Working In The Schools
- World Color Press
- Ziegler Capital Management, LLC
- ↑ Michelle Obama, Married to Barack Obama, Democratic 2008 Candidate About.com, Jan. 22, 2008
- ↑ The woman behind Obama Sun-Times Media, Jan. 20, 2007
- ↑ A Family Tree Rooted In American Soil The Washington Post, Oct. 2, 2008
- ↑ From slave cabin to White House, a family rooted in black America The Times Online, Nov. 6, 2008
- ↑ Michelle: Barack's bitter or better half? BBC News, June 24, 2008
- ↑ Michelle Obama Sees Election as Test for America NPR, July 9, 2007
- ↑ In First Lady’s Roots, a Complex Path From Slavery The New York Times, Oct. 7, 2009
- ↑ The woman behind Obama Sun-Times Media, Jan. 20, 2007
- ↑ 'Just like us' Chicago Sun-Times, Nov. 10, 2008
- ↑ Michelle Obama thesis was on racial divide Politico, Feb. 23, 2008
- ↑ Michelle Obama's Career Timeout The Washington Post, May 11, 2007
- ↑ The woman behind Obama Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 20, 2007
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Michelle Obama's Savvy Sacrifice Time, Aug. 25, 2008
- ↑ Fact Sheet About Public Allies and the Obamas Public Allies
- ↑ It's not that I want to beat a dead horse... Babalu Blog, Oct. 9, 2008
- ↑ Michelle Obama TreeHouse Foods, Inc.
- ↑ Sweet column: Michelle Obama quits board of Wal-Mart supplier. Chicago Sun-Times, May 22, 2007
- ↑ Michelle Obama brings service commitment to White House; alumni play key roles on transition team Princeton University, Nov. 7, 2008
- ↑ Michelle Obama appointed vice president for community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals The University of Chicago Medical Center, May 5, 2005
- ↑ Michelle Obama: Campaigning her way USA Today, May 11, 2007
- ↑ Michelle Obama Solidifies Her Role in the Election Wall Street Journal, Feb. 11, 2008
- ↑ Millions of cell calls for Clinton SFGate, Feb. 7, 2008
- ↑ After Attacks, Michelle Obama Looks for a New Introduction The New York Times, June 18, 2008
- ↑ Michelle Obama: "For the First Time in My Adult Lifetime, I'm Really Proud of My Country" ABC News, Feb. 18, 2008
- ↑ Obama's Chief Strategist David Axelrod on Michelle Obama's Remarks TIME
- ↑ Appeals Evoking American Dream Rally Democrats The New York Times, Aug. 26, 2008
- ↑ Interpreting Michelle Obama's Speech NPR, Aug. 26, 2008
- ↑ Fox refers to Michelle Obama as ‘baby mama’ MSNBC, June 12, 2008
- ↑ Michelle Obama: 'Let's Move' Initiative Battles Childhood Obesity ABC News, Feb. 9, 2010
- ↑ Michelle Obama Rallies the Education Troops ABC News, Feb. 2, 2010
- ↑ Michelle Obama Visits Department Of Education CBS News, Feb. 2, 2009
- ↑ Michelle Obama on "food deserts" Chicago Sun-Times, Feb. 24, 2010
- ↑ Michelle Obama Makes Military Families Her Mission U.S. News, Mar. 26, 2009
- ↑ Michelle Obama brings service commitment to White House; alumni play key roles on transition team Princeton University, Nov. 7, 2008
- ↑ Michelle Obama thesis was on racial divide Politico, February 23, 2008
- ↑ Michelle Obama Discover The Networks
- ↑ Michelle Obama Discover The Networks
- ↑ Michelle Obama Discover The Networks
- ↑ Michelle Obama Discover The Networks
- ↑ Obama’s Americorps scandal — and the First Lady’s meddling Michelle Malkin, June 12, 2009
- ↑ Chicago Council on Global Affairs Board of Directors Chicago Council on Global Affairs
- ↑ Action Bulletin IVI-IPO, December, 2003
- ↑ ObamaCare: The Other Socialist Connection (Meet Marilyn Katz) NewsRealBlog, December 23, 2009
- ↑ Obama Mentor Charles Ogletree Shares Insight on Our President Essence, Feb. 12, 2009
- ↑ Obama File 80 Michelle and Barack's Black Panther Mentor New Zeal, Jul. 24, 2009
- ↑ The L.A. Times Suppresses Obama’s Khalidi Bash Tape National Review Online, Oct. 27, 2008
- ↑ Michelle Obama Had Ayers Speak In 1997 Sweetness & Light, Oct. 5, 2008, University of Chicago Chronicle, Nov. 6 1997, Vol 17, No. 4
- ↑ MMichelle Obama Dismisses Criticisms The New York Times, Oct. 9, 2008