Michelle La Vaughn Robinson was born in Chicago, Illinois, on January 17, 1964. Growing up in Chicago’s South Shore community, Michelle was a good student, skipping the second grade and enrolling in a gifted class in sixth grade. After graduating from high school as salutatorian in 1981, she attended Princeton University. While there, Michelle majored in sociology and minored in African American studies, graduating cum laude in 1985. She went on to get her Juris Doctor (J.D.) at Harvard Law School.
After Harvard, Michelle was an associate at the Sidley Austin law office. One summer, she was instructed to mentor a new summer associate, named Barack Obama. Barack impressed Michelle at a community organization meeting and the two went on their first date, to see the movie, “Do the Right Thing.” They got married in October 1992.
Meanwhile, Michelle continued to move forward in her career, serving as Assistant to the Mayor and Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Development. The year after they were married, Michelle was appointed Executive Director for the Chicago office of Public Allies where she set fundraising records that remained for 12 years. After four years in that position, she served as Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago, where she worked on the school’s Community Service Center.
In 2002, Michelle began working for the University of Chicago Hospitals as executive director of community affairs and later as Vice President for Community and External Affairs. When Barack began campaigning for President, Michelle cut back on some of her other activities to help his campaign, even speaking at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
As First Lady, Michelle is often compared to Jackie Kennedy for her style and Barbara Bush for her discipline. She is also the first First Lady since Eleanor Roosevelt to plant a vegetable garden.