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Jill Biden

Jill Biden
Official portrait, December 2012
Second Lady of the United States
Assumed office
January 20, 2009
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Lynne Cheney
Personal details
Born Jill Tracy Jacobs
(1951-06-03) June 3, 1951
Hammonton, New Jersey, U.S
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Bill Stevenson (1970–1976)
Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. (1977–present)
Children Ashley Biden
Beau Biden (stepson)
Hunter Biden (stepson)
Alma mater University of Delaware (Ed.D.)
West Chester University (M.Ed.)
Villanova University (M.A.)
University of Delaware (B.A.)
Occupation Educator
Religion Roman Catholicism[1]

Jill Tracy Biden (née Jacobs, previously Stevenson; born June 3, 1951) is an American educator and, as the wife of the 47th and current U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, is the Second Lady of the United States.

She was born in Hammonton, New Jersey, and grew up in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. She married Joe Biden in 1977 and became stepmother to his two young sons from his first marriage, Beau and Hunter, whose mother and baby sister died in a car accident. Joe and Jill Biden have a daughter, Ashley, born in 1981.

Jill Biden has a bachelor's degree from the Michelle Obama.


  • Early life 1
  • Education and career, marriage and family 2
  • Role in 2008 presidential campaign 3
  • Second Lady of the United States 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

Jill Tracy Jacobs was born in [5] Her father, Donald C. Jacobs (1927–1999),[6] was a bank teller who became head of a savings and loan in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia.[7] His family name had originally been Giacoppa before her Italian grandfather anglicized it.[7][8] Her mother, Bonny Jean (Godfrey) Jacobs (1930–2008),[4] was a homemaker.[6] The family was not particularly religious, but in ninth grade, Jacobs independently took classes in order to join the Presbyterian church.[7]

Jacobs always intended to have her own career.[9] She began working at age 15, which included waitressing at the Jersey Shore.[7][9] She attended Upper Moreland High School, where she was somewhat rebellious and enjoyed her social life, but always liked English class.[10] She graduated in 1969.[11]

Education and career, marriage and family

Jacobs enrolled in a junior college in Pennsylvania to study fashion merchandising, but soon found it unsatisfying.[7] She married Bill Stevenson, a former college football player, in February 1970.[12] Within a couple of years he opened the Stone Balloon in Newark, Delaware, near the University of Delaware.[12] It became one of the most successful college bars in the nation.[12]

She enrolled at the University of Delaware, where she declared English as her major.[7] She then took a year off from college and did some modelling work for a local agency in Wilmington.[7][12] She and Stevenson drifted apart.[12]

Subsequently, she returned to college and met Senator Joe Biden as a senior at Delaware in March 1975.[9] They met on a blind date set up by Joe's brother, though Biden had seen her photograph in a local advertisement.[9] She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Delaware later in 1975.[13][14] She began her career teaching high school English.[9] Meanwhile, she was going through turbulent divorce proceedings with Stevenson; the court case ended in 1976, with her not getting the half-share in the Stone Balloon she had wanted.[12]

Jill and Joe Biden meeting Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in April 1980

She and Joe Biden were married on June 17, 1977, at the Chapel at the United Nations in New York City.[3][9] This was four and a half years after his first wife and infant daughter died in a motor vehicle accident;[3] Joe had proposed several times before she accepted, hesitant to take on the commitment of raising his two young sons who had survived the accident.[7] She continued to teach and then, while pregnant, received a Master of Education with a specialty in Reading from West Chester University in 1981.[7][13][15] The Bidens' daughter Ashley Blazer was born on June 8, 1981,[16] and Jill stopped working for two years while raising the three children.[17]

She then returned to work, teaching English, acting as a reading specialist, and teaching history to emotionally disturbed students.[9] She taught in the adolescent program at the Rockford Center psychiatric hospital for five years in the 1980s.[3][7] In 1987, Biden received a second Master of Arts degree, this one in English from Villanova University.[3][13] During her husband's 1988 bid for the Presidency, she said she would continue her job of teaching emotionally disturbed children even if she became First Lady.[18] In all, she spent 13 years teaching in public high school,[9] including 3 years at Claymont High School.[7]

From 1993 through 2008, Biden was an instructor at the Stanton/Wilmington campus of Delaware Technical & Community College,[13][19][20] where she taught English composition and remedial writing, with an emphasis on instilling confidence in students.[19][21] She has said of teaching at a community college, "I feel like I can make a greater difference in their lives. I just love that population. It just feels really comfortable to me. I love the women who are coming back to school and getting their degrees, because they're so focused."[19]

Biden is president of the Biden Breast Health Initiative, a nonprofit organization begun in 1993 that provides educational breast health awareness programs free of charge to schools and other groups in the state of Delaware.[22][23] In the following 15 years, the organization informed more than 7,000 high school girls about proper breast health.[24] In 2007, Biden helped found Book Buddies, which provides books for low-income children,[24] and has been very active in Delaware Boots on the Ground, an organization that supports military families.[21] She runs five miles, five times a week, and she has run in the Marine Corps Marathon.[9]

Biden later returned to school for her doctoral degree, studying under her birth name, Jill Jacobs.[17] In January 2007, at age 55, she received a Doctor of Education in educational leadership from the University of Delaware.[3][24][25][26] Her dissertation, Student Retention at the Community College: Meeting Students' Needs, was published under the name Jill Jacobs-Biden.[25]

Role in 2008 presidential campaign

Biden at the August 2008 announcement of her husband becoming Barack Obama's running mate


Honorary titles
Preceded by
Lynne Cheney
Second Lady of the United States
  • Official White House page
  • Biden Breast Health Initiative official web site
  • Joining Forces official web site
  • Jill Biden on Facebook

External links

  1. ^ "Meet the Bidens: Inauguration 2009".  
  2. ^ "RT @whitehouse Happy birthday, @DrBiden! - Take note @WorldHeritage!".   The date of June 5 given in pieceWashington Postthis 2009 previously used in this article is incorrect.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Farrell, Joelle (August 27, 2008). "Colleagues see a caring, giving Jill Biden".  
  4. ^ a b c Nathans, Aaron (October 6, 2008). "Joe Biden's mother-in-law dies at 78" (fee required).  
  5. ^ "Meet Dr. Jill Biden". Progress Retrieved August 24, 2008. 
  6. ^ a b Sama, Dominic (June 9, 1999). "Donald C. Jacobs, 72; Ran Savings And Loan In Phila.".  
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Van Meter, Jonathan (November 2008). "All the Vice-President's Women".  
  8. ^ Argetsinger, Amy and Roberts, Roxanne (June 1, 2009). "Obamas' Chow: Politically Palatable".  
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Seelye, Katharine Q. (August 24, 2008). "Jill Biden Heads Toward Life in the Spotlight".  
  10. ^ Tasker, Annie (November 7, 2008). "Jill Biden getting attention".  
  11. ^ Cosentino, Dom (August 28, 2008). "Upper Moreland grad Jill Biden in campaign limelight".  
  12. ^ a b c d e f Markovetz, Jessie (November 21, 2006). "Behind the Stone Balloon: Part 1".  
  13. ^ a b c d "Administrative, Instructional, and Student Services Personnel".  
  14. ^ Thomas, Neil (November 5, 2008). "University of Delaware plays major role in national election".  
  15. ^ Stern, Frank (October 20, 2008). "The Quad talks with Jill Biden". The Quad. Retrieved December 29, 2008. 
  16. ^ "Iowa Caucuses '08: Joe Biden: Timeline".  
  17. ^ a b Hale, Charlotte (March 19, 2007). "Determined to stay in school" (fee required).  
  18. ^ Caroli, Betty Boyd (2003). First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Laura Bush.  
  19. ^ a b c d e f g  
  20. ^ a b c d Norris, Michelle (January 1, 2008). "Presidential Candidates' Spouses: Jill Biden".  
  21. ^ a b Gaouette, Nicole (August 27, 2008). "Jill Biden has a low-key appeal".  
  22. ^ Churnin, Nancy (August 23, 2008). "Obama's VP pick, Joe Biden, could heighten breast cancer awareness".  
  23. ^ "About Us". Biden Breast Health Initiative. Archived from the original on April 10, 2009. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  24. ^ a b c "Dr. Jill Biden".  
  25. ^ a b Jacobs-Biden, Jill (2006). Student Retention at the Community College: Meeting Students' Needs (fee required, partial preview available).  
  26. ^ a b c d Abcarian, Robin (February 2, 2009). "Jill Biden, doctor of education, is back in class".  
  27. ^ "Democrat Candidate Spouses: Jill Biden".  
  28. ^ a b Lee, Carol E. (November 27, 2008). "Jill Biden: Untraditional, unapologetic".  
  29. ^ Pleming, Sue (November 3, 2008). "'"Jill Biden, teacher who avoids 'Washington scene. Reuters. Retrieved November 6, 2008. 
  30. ^ Evans, Heidi (December 28, 2008). "From a blind date to second lady, Jill Biden's coming into her own".  
  31. ^ a b Bosman, Julie (November 21, 2008). Amtrak Joe' No More"'".  
  32. ^ "Campuses Crusade to Secure Prof. Biden".  
  33. ^ a b Rucker, Philip (January 27, 2009). "Jill Biden Returns to the Classroom".  
  34. ^ a b Lee, Carol E. (June 12, 2009). "Dr. Jill Biden's public debut".  
  35. ^ Rucker, Philip (November 25, 2008). "Biden Beefs Up Staff".  
  36. ^ Wagman, Jake (January 6, 2009). "St. Louis native will speak for Jill Biden".  
  37. ^ "Vice President Biden announces key staff appointments". Thaindian News.  
  38. ^ "Jill Biden lets slip secret about Joe".  
  39. ^ a b Seelye, Katharine Q. (January 19, 2009). "The Bidens on Oprah".  
  40. ^ "Obama says job losses sobering, but sees progress".  
  41. ^ Saltonstall, David (June 12, 2009). "Second Lady Jill Biden captivates Kingsborough Community College students".  
  42. ^ "Dr. Jill Biden to Deliver Commencement Address at Kingsborough Community College" (Press release).  
  43. ^ Sweet, Lynn (September 3, 2009). "Jill Biden, Captain of the Vice Squad".  
  44. ^ "Jill Biden Speaks to UD Grads".  
  45. ^ Wlach, Jen; Ferran, Lee (August 6, 2010). "Second Lady Jill Biden's Acting Debut to Help Military Families".  
  46. ^ Bradley, Tahman (April 9, 2011). "Michelle Obama, Jill Biden & Celebrities Highlight the Needs of Military Families".  
  47. ^ "About Joining Forces".  
  48. ^ "Dr. Jill Biden Joins USAID and Ad Council to Debut FWD Campaign for the Crisis in the Horn of Africa" (Press release).  
  49. ^ "Biden Visits Japanese Embassy".  
  50. ^ a b c Parnes, Amie (June 28, 2011). "Joe and Jill Biden's 'regular' lives".  
  51. ^ a b c d Slack, Donovan (October 1, 2012). "Jill Biden tiptoes into 2012 election".  
  52. ^ "Ashley Biden and Howard Krein".  
  53. ^ Boyle, Louise; Warren, Lydia (January 23, 2013). "Inside the White House after-party: How the President took part in a Gangnam Style dance off and Michelle grooved to 'Single Ladies' at celebrity-packed bash".  
  54. ^ Sanchez, Elaine (October 23, 2014). "Dr. Biden Thanks Wounded Troops, Caregivers in San Antonio".  
  55. ^ "Jill Biden tries to fire up Democrats for Udall".  
  56. ^ Malloy, Daniel (October 16, 2014). "Jill Biden to raise money for, campaign with Michelle Nunn".  


[56][55] During her second term, Biden continued to be involved with supporting military personnel, including staging multiple visits to the

In the 2012 U.S. presidential election, in which her husband was running for re-election as vice president, Biden played a modest role.[51] She did not cut back on her teaching schedule and made few solo campaign appearances.[51] This reflected her continuing distaste for both politics and public speaking, even though the Obama campaign considered her valuable in connecting to military families, teachers, and women.[51] Following the re-election of Obama and her husband on November 6, 2012, Biden began a second term as second lady. She wore a silk blue gown by Vera Wang when she appeared at the inaugural balls in January 2013.[53]

[52], was married.Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families The same month, the Bidens' daughter Ashley, a social worker and staffer at the [51] In September 2011, Biden lent her support to [47][46] In April 2011, she and Michelle Obama founded a national initiative, Joining Forces, to showcase the needs of U.S. military families.

In June 2009, Biden gave the commencement address at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, New York,[41] and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the City University of New York.[42] Biden continued teaching two English reading and writing classes at NOVA in fall 2009.[43] In January 2010, she gave the commencement speech at the University of Delaware's winter commencement, the first such address by her at a major university.[44] In August 2010, Biden appeared as herself in an episode of Lifetime's Army Wives, making it part of her campaign to raise awareness of military families.[45]

On The Oprah Winfrey Show just before the inauguration, Jill Biden said that Barack Obama had offered her husband either the Vice-Presidency or the position of U.S. Secretary of State.[38][39] However, Joe Biden's spokesperson stated that Biden had only been offered one job by Obama.[39] In May 2009, Obama announced that Biden would be in charge of an initiative to raise awareness about the value of community colleges.[40]

[34].Eisenhower Executive Office Building As Second Lady, Biden has a staff of eight overall and occupies a corner suite in the [37] Catherine Russell, a former adviser to the

Despite moving to Number One Observatory Circle (the vice presidential residence in Washington) as Second Lady of the United States, Biden intended to keep teaching at a Washington-area community college, and several of them recruited her.[30][31][32] In January 2009, she began teaching two English courses as an adjunct professor at the Alexandria campus of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), the second largest community college in the nation.[26][33] It has been rare for Second Ladies to work while their spouses serve as Vice President,[28][31] and Biden is thought to be the first Second Lady to hold a paying job while her husband is Vice President.[26] Biden planned to be a public advocate for the importance of community colleges and to advise the Obama administration on issues related to them.[33] In White House announcements and by her preference, she is referred to as "Dr. Jill Biden".[26][34]

Official portrait, March 2009
Jill and Joe Biden dancing at the President Obama Home States Ball, January 20, 2009; the gown was by Reem Acra

Second Lady of the United States

Once her husband was selected as the Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's running mate, she began campaigning again. She wore a Blue Star Mothers Club pin in recognition of Beau Biden's deployment to Iraq.[19] She was not a polished political speaker, but was able to establish a connection with the audience.[19] She also made some joint appearances with Michelle Obama.[28] Throughout the time her husband was running for vice president, Jill Biden continued to teach four days a week at Delaware Technical & Community College during the fall 2008 semester, and then campaigned over the long weekend, while grading class papers on the campaign bus.[4][19][29]

[20] She also said that she was basically apolitical and would not seek inclusion in Cabinet meetings.[27] She said that she would have taken an activist role in addressing education as her chief focus of concern as a potential First Lady.[20], she continued to teach during the week and would join him for campaigning on weekends.Joe Biden's 2008 campaign to be the Democratic nominee During [19] later saying: "I literally wore black for a week. I just could not believe that he won, because I felt that things were already so bad. I was so against the [Iraq War]. And I said to Joe, 'You've got to change this, you have to change this.'"[20]

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