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First Ladies Luncheon

America’s First Ladies: An Enduring Legacy

April 8, 2013 



12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

America’s First Ladies: An Enduring Legacy Luncheon:

Your Hosts: Maria DeVos and Liesel Meijer

Enjoy First Lady Betty Ford’s favorite recipe while enjoying the company of our special guest of honor First Lady Laura Bush accompanied by First Lady Barbara Bush (invited). The luncheon is to commemorate the 95th birthday of First Lady Betty Ford.

Tickets are $50 per plate or $1,000 as a table sponsor (10 plates).
RSVP by email rsvp@38foundation.org or call 616-254-0396 to make your reservation and payment.


America’s First Ladies: An Enduring Legacy Symposium:

After the luncheon, please join us as we continue to explore our nation’s First Ladies at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum following the luncheon with a Symposium. There is no charge to attend the symposium.


3:00 – 4:15 p.m.

Panel One: First Ladies as Influence Makers

Leading historians will discuss contemporary as well as historical First Ladies, exploring how the role has evolved. The panelists will address the move from solely traditional female activities centered on home and family to activism on behalf of important issues, and their transition from public life back to private citizen.


  • Allida Black – Executive Director, 4freedoms Digital Initiative & Founder, Eleanor Roosevelt Paper
  • Richard Norton Smith – Historian and Author moderator and panelist
  • Myra Gutin – Professor, Ridge College, Author of The President’s Partner and Barbara Bush: Presidential Monarc
  • Robert P. Watson – Professor, Lynn University, Author of The Presidential Companion: Readings on the First Ladies and Laura Bush: The Report to the First Lady


4:15 – 5:30 p.m.

Panel Two: Honoring Betty Ford: A Family View

A First Lady’s life in the White House is an intersection of personality, family, politics, history and legacy. Susan Ford Bales and Steve Ford will explore the First Lady as activist, national hostess, caretaker of America’s most famous home and curator of America’s national treasures.


  •   Susan Ford Bales
  •   Steve Ford 


Moderator: Richard Norton Smith


5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Public Reception

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum lobby

If you are interested in attending the symposium, please RSVP to 616.254.0396 or events@38foundation.org. There is no charge to attend the symposium.



A Special Thank You to the Event Sponsors !

American University Library


Fifth Third Bank

Grand Valley State University-Hauenstein Center

The Lacks Cancer Center at Saint Mary’s


                                                                  White House Historical Association