Education August 25, 2017: Malia Obama officially moves in to Harvard University freshmen dorms




Malia Obama officially moves in to Harvard University freshmen dorms

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Photo: B Scott / @lovebscott Twitter

Former President Barack Obama’s eldest daughter Malia Obama officiallyjoined Harvard University’s Class of 2021. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, Malia moved into Harvard’s freshmen dorms. The former president and first lady Michele Obama helped their daughter move into her dorm in Yards reserved for freshman. The move was low key, with Malia looking to fit in rather than outshine her fellow classmates. Former President Obama and First Lady Michelle were seen helping their daughter with boxes and leaving her dorm building after Malia was settled in. The president was spotted the same day at Harvest restaurant in Harvard Square.

Malia is Harvard legacy both the president and first lady attended Harvard Law School in the late 1980s and early 1990s, where the president made history as the first African American Harvard Law Review editor. The country’s most prestigious and oldest college was home to many famous alumni, including eight former presidents and a number presidential children including two that went on to become president, John Quincy Adams, and George W. Bush. Malia will hardly be the only famous Harvard freshmen on campus this year, actress Yara Shahidi is also attending, and even received a letter of recommendation from the former first lady. Shahidi stars in ABC’s “Black-ish” but deferred enrollment until 2018 while she films the spin off “Adult-ish.”

Last year, the Obamas said they did not press their daughter to attend an Ivy League university. Former President Obama relayed they told Malia, “I don’t want them to think, ‘Oh I should go to these top schools.’ We live in a country where there are thousands of amazing universities. So, the question is: What’s going to work for you?” The president advised his daughter “not to stress too much” and reminded her “Just because it’s not some name-brand, famous, fancy school doesn’t mean that you’re not going to get a great education there.” In the end, Malia opted for the Ivy League crown jewel that tops national and international university rankings.

The former first daughter, 19 graduated high school in 2016 and was accepted that year but decided to take a gap year. In the past year, her father left office, her family moved out of the White House. In the fall, Malia went on a trip to Bolivia and Peru, the Boulder, Colo. company Where There Be Dragons that specializes in gap year and summer programs. Since her father left office, she interned at the Weinstein Company, attended the Sundance Film Festival, protested the Dakota Access pipeline project and vacationed in Aspen, Colorado. Malia then spent her summer on family vacations in Bali and Martha’s Vineyard and rocked out at Chicago’s Lollapalooza.

Malia has shown an interest in film, having had two other internships on television shows. In summer 2014, Malia was a production assistant for CBS’ now cancelled sci-fi series “Extant” starring Halle Berry, and in the summer of 2015, Malia interned on Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girls. Her interests are sparking speculation as to what her major or concentration would be while at Harvard.

Boston Globe reporter Steve Annear attempted to score an interview and approached Obama’s eldest daughter. Malia “declined” the interview, and explained “I can’t,” but as Annear recounted she “politely returned a handshake.” Tuesday, Aug. 22 was Harvard’s official move-in day for freshmen, but students who needed to were allowed “to move in a day early, based on travel schedules, athletic schedules, or other needs.” Freshmen orientations began on Tuesday, while classes start on Aug. 30. Annear was the only one who approached the former first daughter for her celebrity; instead, she appeared speaking with fellow freshmen.

Still, Twitter was filled with tweets from her classmates broadcasting Malia sightings and catching photos of her parents on campus. One student went overboard on Twitter with her excitement as she saw her brother chatting with Malia, posting a couple of tweets and a photo declaring “My brother and Malia are about to be besties,” facing a backlash the student deleted her tweets.

During Malia’s senior year, President Obama told Ellen DeGeneres, “Malia is more than ready to leave, but I’m not ready for her to leave.” When asked about speaking at her graduation, the then president replied, “Malia’s school asked if I wanted to speak at commencement and I said ‘Absolutely not.’ I’m going to be wearing dark glasses, sobbing.” Both the former president and first lady were spotted leaving Malia’s dorm wearing sunglasses although it was dark outside, attempting to cover their emotions at dropping off their first born at college.

Related: Malia Obama to join Harvard’s Class of 2021 in fall 2017 after gap year

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Politics August 7, 2016: Obama arrives in Martha’s Vineyard for last presidential summer vacation




Obama arrives in Martha’s Vineyard for last presidential summer vacation

By Bonnie K. Goodman

US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia(upperR) and Sasha step off Air Force One at Cape Cod Air Force Station in Massachusetts on August 6, 2016 as they arrive for a two-week holiday at nearby Martha's Vineyard. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM        (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia(upperR) and Sasha step off Air Force One at Cape Cod Air Force Station in Massachusetts on August 6, 2016 as they arrive for a two-week holiday at nearby Martha’s Vineyard. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Barack Obama is marking his last summer vacation as president. Obama along with First Lady Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha arrived Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016 in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts for their annual two-week vacation. The president will have no official engagements during his vacation.

The president and family in addition to dogs BO and Sunny flew on Air Force One to Cape Cod on Saturday. There the Obamas met with members of the military before continuing to Martha’s Vineyard flying on Marine One.

The president and his family vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard each year of his presidency except in 2012 when Obama ran for re-election. The Obamas again are renting a house on the island in the tony Chilmark. CNN is describing the house as a wooded compound far from the busier Edgartown and Oak Bluffs.

The Obamas usually stay out of the limelight on their vacations, the exception when they are sited at local shops or dining in town, biking or especially in the president’s case golfing. Last year President Obama made the rounds at all of the island’s golf courses playing at each one, often will high profile friends accompanying him.

This year youngest daughter Sasha, 15 will be particularly busy; the first daughter is working at local restaurant Nancy’s seafood restaurant heading the taking out the window. The Obama’s are friends with the owner and eat there often during their vacations.

Sasha has also been working busing tables. A fellow worker at the restaurant recounted to the Boston Herald “She’s been working downstairs at takeout. We were wondering why there were six people helping this girl, but then we found out who it was.” First Lady Michelle recently told Entertainment Tonight that she and the president are trying to “‘normalize’ their daughters’ lives “as much as possible.'”

Universities May 1, 2016: Malia Obama to join Harvard’s Class of 2021 in fall 2017 after gap year




Malia Obama to join Harvard’s Class of 2021 in fall 2017 after gap year

By Bonnie K. Goodman, May 1, 2016, 12:09 PM MST


 Malia Obama is going to Harvard University in the fall of 2017, joining Harvard's Class of 2021 after a gap year, May 1, 2016

Malia Obama is going to Harvard University in the fall of 2017, joining Harvard’s Class of 2021 after a gap year, May 1, 2016
Jimmy Alto Twitter

Politics March 13, 2016: Malia and Sasha Obama the toasts at their state dinner debut




Malia and Sasha Obama the toasts at their state dinner debut

By Bonnie K. Goodman

March 13, 2016 12:45 AM MST

 In a surprise to the public, Malia and Sasha Obama attended the state dinner in honor of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, their first, March 10, 2016
In a surprise to the public, Malia and Sasha Obama attended the state dinner in honor of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, their first, March 10, 2016
White House Photo by Pete Souza

News December 4, 2014: Jenna Bush admits to hanky-panky in the White House when her dad was president

Politics November 30, 2014: Elizabeth Lauten’s attack on Malia and Sasha Obama turns into Twitter partisan war on Jenna Bush

Lauten attack on the Obama girls turns into Twitter partisan war on Jenna Bush

November 30, 2014, 11:31 PM MST

Malia and Sasha Obama looked bored and embarassed as their father President Barack Obama conducts the Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony in the White House, Nov. 26, 2014

Malia and Sasha Obama looked bored and embarassed as their father President Barack Obama conducts the Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony in the White House, Nov. 26, 2014
Mark Wilson/Getty Images / The White House

Politics November 29, 2014: Obama family celebrates Thanksgiving begin Christmas season at the White House

Obama family celebrates Thanksgiving, begin Christmas season at the White House

November 29, 2014, 8:15 PM MST


President Barack Obama delivers his Thanksgiving Weekly address entitled “Happy Thanksgiving from the Obama Family”

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

This past weekend President Barack Obama and his family celebrated Thanksgiving with all the White House traditions. First Obama pardoned the National Thanksgiving Turkey on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, in a White House ceremony, afterward the whole family volunteered at Bread for the City.

Then on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 27, the Obamas had a big holiday dinner, but first the President released his Thanksgiving-themed weekly address and phoned members of the military. In the evening, the first couple appeared in a pre-recorded ABC interview.

On Friday, Nov. 28, Christmas decorating began with First Lady Michelle Obama receiving the official White House Christmas tree. Capping off their annual tradition on Saturday, Nov, 29, the president began his holiday shopping, buying books and supporting small businesses at Politics and Prose bookstore.

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha kick-off the Thanksgiving and Christmas season with annual family and White House traditions

Photo by Pool/Getty Images

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images

First Obama conducted the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014 in a White House ceremony attended also by his daughters Malia, 16 and Sasha, 13. There were two birds competing in this latest round to be either the National Thanksgiving Turkey or the runner-up, Mac and his brother Cheese. The two birds were born and “raised on with Presidential Turkey Flock at Cooper Farms in Fort Recovery, Ohio.” Since 2012, voting for the official turkey has been done through Twitter, and the contest called “America’s Next Top Turkey,” with voters using the hashtags #TeamMac or #TeamCheese. Only the winner Cheese attended the official ceremony. Cheese is 20-weeks-old and 48 pounds. The two pardoned turkeys move on to Morven Park’s “Turkey Hill,” in Leesburg, Va., the home of pardoned turkeys since 2010, and former Virginia governor Westmoreland Davis.

President Obama’s speech was filled with jokes about executive actions and amnesty, referring to his immigration executive actions, granting amnesty, stopping deportations for 4.7 million illegal immigrants. The executive actions have not been going over too well with the American public in general; those affected think the president did not do enough to thwart deportations, while Republicans have threatened a government shutdown, impeachment, censure, or a lawsuit and have the GOP Congressional leadership promised to stop him.

The president joked, comparing his turkey pardoning to his immigration actions, “I am here to announce what I’m sure will be the most talked-about executive action this month.” Continuing his gag, Obama stated; “Today, I’m taking an action fully within my legal authority — the same kind of action taken by Democrat and Republican presidents before me, to spare the lives of two turkeys, Mac and Cheese, from a terrible and delicious fate. Some will call this amnesty, but don’t worry, there’s plenty of turkey to go around.”

President Barack Obama’s remarks were filled not only with immigration analogies, but also with Thanksgiving holiday jokes, saying; “Let’s face it, if you’re a turkey and you’re named after a side dish — your chances of escaping Thanksgiving dinner are pretty low, so these guys are well ahead of the curve.” On a more serious note, Obama also thanked American service men and women in the military, expressing, “Remember the folks who can’t spend their holidays at home. Especially the brave men and women in uniform who help keep our country secure.”

Later in the afternoon he, First Lady Michelle and their two daughters donated two additional donated turkeys, and volunteered at Bread for the City, an agency that “provides vulnerable residents of Washington, DC, with comprehensive services, including food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services, in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.” Each member of the Obama family handed out thanksgiving food to those in need. Obama handed-out “bags of sweet potatoes,” Mrs. Obama “turnips,” Malia “cranberry sauce and canned beans,” Sasha “canned mixed vegetables and White House Hershey kisses,” and the president’s mother-in-law, Marian Robinson gave out “fresh bread.” Volunteering at a food bank is part of the Obama’s annual tradition.

On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 27 the Obama family had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, earlier in the day, the president phoned the troops, and started the day by releasing his Thanksgiving-themed weekly address entitled “Happy Thanksgiving from the Obama Family.” In his address, the president wished the country holiday greetings and expressed that “Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because, more than any other, it is uniquely American. Each of us brings our own traditions and cultures and recipes to the table – but we all share this day, united by the gratitude for the bounty of this nation.”

President Obama also thanked military service members for their sacrifices for the safety of the country; “To our service members who are away from home, we say an extra prayer for you and your loved ones, and we renew our commitment to take care of you as well as you’ve taken care of us.” The president made sure to remember volunteers at “soup kitchens and shelters” for their work “looking out for those who are less fortunate, and lifting up those who have fallen on hard times.” Obama pointed out that “This generosity, this compassion, this belief that we are each other’s keepers, is essential to who we are, not just on this day, but every day.”

Concluding his Thanksgiving address, the president asked the nation to instead of emphasizing the differences, “what separates us” politically and socially, American should as they “gather with loved ones on this Thanksgiving, let’s remember and be grateful for what binds us together. Our love of country. Our commitment to justice and equality. Our belief that America’s best days are ahead, and that her destiny is ours to shape – and that our inherited ideals must be the birthright of all of our children.”

The president also phoned “representatives of each of the five service branches: the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard.” According to the official readout of the calls, Obama expressed “his appreciation on Thanksgiving Day on behalf of a grateful nation,” thanking them for all they do for “the safety and security of the American people.” First Lady Michelle also thanked America’s troops with a Twitter post, “As we celebrate #Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks to our men and women in uniform serving our country far from their homes and families. -mo”

On Thanksgiving evening, a special interview with the president and first lady aired on ABC. The interview conducted by Robin Roberts focused on the meaning of the holiday and American troops, with some scoop on their favorite pie deserts. First Lady Michelle expressed; “I think this Thanksgiving time is a time for all of us to reflect on those military gold star families who are having dinner without a loved one there. It’s easy to get lost in the food and the fellowship, but Thanksgiving is a time for reflection.”

While President Obama discussed his Thanksgiving tradition to call to members of the military; “A lot of times during these holidays, I’ll actually make calls to folks who are deployed. We’ll just call ’em up and say, ‘thank you.’ It’s a great idea for every American, every day, but especially during the holiday season. You know, you see a service member — you just go up and say, ‘Thanks, we appreciate it.’ Because the sacrifices they make are extraordinary.”

The interview included a pie testing in the White House kitchen, where Obama complained that the first lady never shares her desserts. Michelle replied it is “Cause he eats it like that. Look, the crust is gone, everything that makes a pie delicious is gone in his one bite!” To which Obama joked “Do I have to, like, take a small bite because I’m on TV?” The president revealed his favorite Thanksgiving pie flavor is pumpkin, and described, “The proper way to eat your pie is you should have just a little whipped cream on top. We go all out on pies. We don’t play with pie.”

This year there were only six pies at the White House Thanksgiving dinner, down from nine last year. The menu included traditional thanksgiving fare, “thyme-roasted turkey” “honey-baked ham” as the main courses. As for the side dishes, there was “cornbread and oyster stuffings, braised winter greens, sweet potato gratin, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and dinner rolls,” and of course macaroni and cheese. Although there are fewer pie varieties this year, the selection was still diverse enough and included; “banana cream, coconut cream, pumpkin, apple, pecan and cherry pies.”

On Friday, Nov. 28, the White House Christmas tree was delivered. First Lady Michelle, Malia and Sasha, and first dogs Bo and Sunny were there to meet is as it arrived at the North Portico in a carriage drawn by four Clydesdale horses. This year’s tree is an 18.5-foot-tall Douglas Fir from the Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Leighton, Pennsylvania, and owner Chris Botek was on hand to present the tree that will reside this holiday season in the White House Blue Room. The First Lady will unveil the Christmas decoration in a reception for military families on Dec. 3.

The last annual Thanksgiving holiday tradition that Obama does each year is going shopping on Small Business Saturday, on Nov. 29 which supports small businesses, and buying books at Washington, D.C.’s Politics and Prose bookstore. Obama purchased 17 books at the store with his daughters. The president joked with the shoppers and “picked up a baby,” then asked, “Do I get a discount for that?” to which the clerk said he only get a “neighbor’s discount.” Obama was also confronted with a serious question when a shopper asked when he would be “clos[ing] the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, to which he answered, “We’re working on it.” The White House released the full list of books the president purchased, which include the following:

“Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande
“Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus” (Junie B. Jones Series #1) by Barbara Park
“Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business” (Junie B. Jones Series #2) by Barbara Park
“A Barnyard Collection: Click, Clack, Moo and More” by Doreen Cronin
“I Spy Sticker Book and Picture Riddles” by Jean Marzollo
“Nuts to You” by Lynn Rae Perkins
“Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson
“Redwall” (Redwall Series #1) by Brian Jacques
“Mossflower” (Redwall Series #2) by Brian Jacques
“Mattimeo” by Brian Jacques (Redwall Series #3)
“Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms” by Katherine Rundell
“The Narrow Road to the Deep North” by Richard Flanagan
“The Laughing Monsters” by Denis Johnson
“All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr
“Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad
“Nora Webster” by Colm Toibin
“Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China” by Evan Osnos


The 2014 White House Christmas Tree Arrives, Nov. 28, 2014

President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address: Happy Thanksgiving from the Obama Family, Nov. 27, 2014

Weekly Address: Happy Thanksgiving from the Obama Family, Nov. 27, 2014

The First Family Participates in a Service Project, Nov. 26, 2014

Remarks by President Barack Obama at Pardoning of the National Turkey, Nov. 26, 2014

President Obama Pardons the National Turkey, Nov. 26, 2014

Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. She covers US, Canadian & Israeli politics, with a particular focus on the Obama presidency, Congress, domestic policy, and elections.