(From Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia)

Michelle Obama

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama, b. Chicago, Jan. 17, 1964, is the wife of Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States (2009- ). As First Lady, she plans to work to support working families, particularly military families.

Michelle Robinson was raised on Chicago's South Side. Her father, Fraser, was a pump operator for the city's water department, and her mother, Marian, was a homemaker. She attended Chicago public schools, graduated cum laude from Princeton University (1985), and earned a law degree from Harvard University (1988). Robinson then worked as an associate in the area of marketing and intellectual property for the law firm Sidley & Austin. While at the firm, she met Barack Obama, who was working as a summer associate there. The couple were married on Oct. 3, 1992.

After leaving Sidley & Austin in 1991, Michelle Obama began a career in public service. She worked for the city of Chicago as an assistant to the mayor and assistant commissioner of planning and development. She then became executive director for the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program that prepares young people for public-service work. Michelle Obama joined the University of Chicago in 1996 as associate dean of student services. She became executive director of community and external affairs for the University of Chicago Hospitals in 2002. In May 2005 she was appointed vice-president of community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center. She has been a member of numerous boards.

After her husband announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2007, Michelle Obama scaled back her professional responsibilities. She focused instead on campaigning and taking care of the couple's two daughters, Malia (b. 1999) and Sasha (b. 2001).