Hillary Rodham Clinton
[William J. Clinton]
Biography: Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived at the White House after
serving as First Lady of Arkansas for 12 years. During that time she had
managed many roles: wife, mother, and homemaker; full-time partner in a
law firm; and chairwoman of an education committee that set public school
standards in Arkansas. On many occasions Hillary Clinton has spoken
about the need "to find the right balance in our lives." For her, the
elements of that balance are family, work, and public service.
Hillary Diane Rodham was born in Chicago, Illinois, on October
26, 1947, daughter of Hugh and Dorothy Rodham. Her father owned a fabric store, and
her mother was a full-time mother and homemaker. Mrs. Rodham encouraged
Hillary to go to college and pursue a profession, even though she had never
done so herself.
Hillary and her younger brothers, Hugh and Tony, grew up in Park
Ridge, Illinois, as a close-knit family. Her brothers played football,
while Hillary enjoyed tennis, swimming, ballet, softball, volleyball, and
skating. An excellent student, she was also a Girl Scout and a member of
the local Methodist youth group.
She entered Wellesley College in 1965. Graduating with honors,
she moved on to Yale Law School, where she served on the Board of Editors
of the Yale Review of Law and Social Action. While at Yale she
developed her concern for protecting the interests of children and
families. It was there, too, that she met Bill Clinton, a fellow
In 1973 Hillary became a staff attorney for the Children's
Defense Fund. A year later she was recruited by the Impeachment Inquiry
staff of the judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives. Hillary
left Washington and "followed her heart to Arkansas," marrying Bill
Clinton in 1975. The couple taught together on the law faculty of the
University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Their daughter, Chelsea, was
born in 1980.
In Arkansas, Hillary worked tirelessly on behalf of children and
families. She founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
and served on the board of the Arkansas Children's Hospital. In addition
to serving as chairwoman of the Arkansas Education Standards Committee, she
introduced a pioneering program called the Home Instruction Program for
Preschool Youngsters. It soon became a model for other states.
The program sent teachers into the homes of underprivileged
families to train parents to work with their children in school
preparedness and literacy. In recognition of her professional and
personal accomplishments, Hillary was named Arkansas' Woman of the Year
in 1983 and its Young Mother of the Year in 1984.
Like her predecessors, Hillary Rodham Clinton brings her
own special talents to the role of First Lady. Since her arrival at
the White House, Mrs. Clinton has taken delight in using it as a
showcase for the performing arts, American cuisine, and crafts. The
President appointed her to head his Task Force on National Health Care Reform, one
of his highest priorities on taking office. As the President remarked:
"We have a First Lady of many talents ... who most of all can bring
people together around complex and difficult issues to hammer out
consensus and get things done."