Forty-six women have served as First Lady, standing alongside our US Presidents throughout history. To kick off Women’s History Month, the American University’s School of Public Affairs is holding an afternoon conference, The Legacies of America’s First Ladies, to celebrate and examine the role of the nation’s first ladies.
The conference was organized by Anita McBride, former chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush and now an executive in residence at American University.
“A first lady’s role may be a mysterious to many, but these leaders behind the leaders help effect change and advance our society in valuable ways,” says McBride.
Susan Sher, former chief of staff to Michelle Obama, will be making her first appearance since leaving the White House. She will be participating in a panel discussion with McBride and Melanne Verveer, former chief of staff to Hillary Rodham Clinton, on how these modern women have redefined what it means to be First Lady.
There will be other panel discussions throughout the afternoon with premier historians, authors, White House correspondents and journalists, who have studied, written, covered and traveled with the first ladies. Representatives from the Carter, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush administrations will also be participating including Gahl Hodges Burt, former special assistant to President Reagan and social secretary.
Events will be held at AU’s Katzen Arts Center and the White House Historical Association, the National Archives’ Presidential Libraries, and American University’s Library are conference partners. For a full list of speakers and conference agenda, click here.
In addition to the conference, McBride is also spearheading the creation of the First Ladies Foundation to cultivate the first non-partisan history on the impact these women have made. For more information go to FirstLadiesFoundation.org.