Michelle was born on January 17, 1964, to Marian and Fraser Robinson on Chicago's South Side and graduated from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in Chicago's West Loop. After high school Michelle went on to Princeton University where in 1985 she graduated with a B.A. in sociology and a minor in African American studies. After college, Michelle continued her education at Harvard Law School, where she earned her degree in 1988.
For three years after law school, Michelle worked as an associate in the area of marketing and intellectual property at Chicago law firm Sidley and Austin, where she met Barack Obama. She left the corporate law world in 1991 to pursue a career in public service, serving as an assistant to the mayor and then as the assistant commissioner of planning and development for the City of Chicago.
In 1993, she became the founding executive director of Public Allies - Chicago, a leadership training program that received AmeriCorps National Service funding and helped young adults develop skills for future careers in the public sector.
Michelle began her involvement with the University of Chicago in 1996. As associate dean of student services, she developed the University's first community service program. Michelle also served as executive director of community and external affairs until 2005, when she was appointed vice president of community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center. She also managed the business diversity program.
Michelle has fostered the University of Chicago's relationship with the surrounding community and developed the diversity program, making them both integral parts of the Medical Center's mission.
Barack, Michelle and their two daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, live on the South Side of Chicago.