Myra Gutin to give lecture about U.S. first ladies

Myra Gutin will be the featured speaker for the next Faculty Lecture Series event at 12:15 p.m. on April 14, in room 302 at Penn State Lehigh Valley in Center Valley. Gutin, a professor of communication and journalism at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J., will present "The View from the White House: The First Lady, 1920-2010." This lecture is free and open to the public.

This program will look at the first ladies from 1920, the year that suffrage was passed, up to Michelle Obama and divides them into three communication classifications: Ceremonial Presences (Harding, Coolidge, Truman, Eisenhower); the Emerging Spokeswomen (Hoover, Kennedy, Nixon, L. Bush, B. Bush); and the Activist First Ladies (Roosevelt, Johnson, Ford, Carter and Clinton). Nancy Reagan is analyzed as a First Lady in Transition. The first ladies are discussed in terms of ceremonial responsibilities, political duties, and advocacy of projects or issues. The program concludes with thoughts about Michelle Obama and the future of the Office of the First Lady.

In a career that has spanned 30 years, Gutin has authored numerous articles, book chapters and essays on the topics of American first ladies, women in politics, and political communication. She contributed two articles to Report to the First Lady, 2009, a study of the history and Office of the First Lady, which was presented to Michelle Obama. She is the author of "The President’s Partner: The First Lady in the Twentieth Century" and "Barbara Bush: Presidential Matriarch."

During the 2008 presidential primaries and the presidential campaign, Gutin was featured on NPR’s "Sunday Early Edition," "The Today Show," ABC, CNN, the CBS "Early Show," Time, O Magazine, Newsday, USA Today, the McClatchy News Service, the National Press of Canada, La Presse (Montreal), the BBC, Swiss National Television, and the Boston Globe about the potential first lady and first gentleman candidates.

In late October 2008, she was invited to the White House to meet with former first lady Laura Bush and take part in a program about her legacy. A few days later, South Jersey Magazine named her one of South Jersey’s "Superwomen."

The weeks leading up to the 2009 presidential inauguration were busy for Gutin as she spoke with scores of newspapers, magazines, and radio stations. On inauguration night, she was part of the inaugural ball coverage team at and also appeared on Anderson Cooper 360.

Gutin teaches a course at Rider titled "The American First Lady in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries." A member of the Center for the Study of the Presidency, she is a recipient of Emerson College’s Distinguished Alumni Award. During July 2009, she took part in the Oxford Round Table held at Oxford University where she addressed the topic: "Women in American Politics: Still a Chilly Climate." Myra’s comments about first ladies Barbara Bush, Pat Nixon, and Michelle Obama were part of an article that appeared in a September 2010 issue of U.S. News and World Report.

Myra Gutin received bachelor's and master's degrees in communication from Emerson College, Boston, Mass. She earned a doctorate in the same discipline from the University of Michigan.

For more information, contact University Relations at 610-285-5067 or email

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Last Updated January 09, 2015