GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Although they are not elected officials, throughout history, first ladies in the United States have played an important role.
On Monday, April 8, “America’s First Ladies: An Enduring Legacy” will highlight their influence at a special luncheon and symposium at the J.W. Marriott at noon for those who pre-registered. Starting at 3 p.m. a symposium with special guests will take place at the Gerald R. Ford Museum. The day long event is part of the Centennial Celebration for President Gerald R. Ford and to commemorate Betty Ford’s 95th Birthday.
Special guests include first lady Laura Bush along with Susan Ford Bales and Steve Ford. The event is hosted by the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation. Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies is a sponsor of the event.
The ‘soft power’ of a first lady, their influence and high visibility will be some of the topics discussed by a broad spectrum of panelists:
- Allida Black, executive director, 4freedoms Digital Initiative; founder, Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project
- Richard Norton Smith, historian and author; moderator and panelist
- Myra Gutin, Author and Professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at Rider University;
- David S. Ferriero, archivist of the United States