Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Class of '51

For any of you ladies out there who have been having Monroe-Onassis debates with yourself, think again! Jackie Kennedy Onassis is a GWU Alum- now you won't have to choose!

Jackie Kennedy has a pretty impressive education record. She spent her early years between New York City and East Hampton, where she attended the best private schools. She spent her kindergarten and grammar school at Chapin School in NYC, and then completed grammar school and her first year of high school at the Holton Arms School in DC. As a sophomore, she attended the Miss Porter's School, a well-known boarding school in Farmington, Connecticut. In 1947, she got into Vassar College, which only admitted women. She spent her freshman and sophomore year at Vassar before spending her junior year abroad at the University of Grenoble and Sorbonne in Paris, France. In 1950, Jackie Kennedy transferred to the George Washington University, where she earned a B.A. in French Literature.

Fun fact! After graduation, Jackie Kennedy submitted an entry to Vogue magazine's Prix de Paris contest, a contest that requries an original theme for the issue, illustrations, articles, layout and design, and an advertising campaign that could be tied to the issue's theme. Out of 1,280 entries, Jackie was picked as the winner. The prize was the position of junior editor for the magazine with  half a year in Paris, and half a year in New York. Her mother forced her to turn it down. Jackie went on to be a photographer for the Washington Times-Herald. 

While in Washington, Jackie attended a dinner hosted by Charles and Martha Buck Bartlett in Georgetown, where she met future husband John F. Kennedy, who was runing for Senate at the time. Two years later, John proposed to Jackie with a Van Cleef and Arpels engagement ring. It had a 2.88 carat diamond and 2.84 carat emerald with tapering bguettes (if you're not drooling you might want to read that sentence again). They were married on September 12, 1953 in Newport, Rhode Island.

Jackie Kennedy was a role model because of the beauty, intelligence and taste tht she brought to the role of First Lady. She showed an interest in many areas of the arts, including opera, ballet, Shakespeare and modern jazz, which inspired a national attention to culture which had not been previously displayed by any other First Lady. She was able to maintain the privacy of her family, and her three children were always her first priority. She brought awareness to countless Americans. Even in times of tragedy, including the death of her newborn son, Patrick, the assassination of her husband, and the murder of her brother-in-law, she was able to maintain a self respect and demeanor that set an example for women across America. 

After JFK was assassinated in 1963, Jackie moved to New York where she focused on the creation of the John F. Kennedy Library where she was involved in the architecture and landscaping. She also helped with the academic direction of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.. In 1968, Jackie Kennedy married Aristotle Socrates Onassis, a wealthy Greek businessman. After his death in 1979, Jackie was able to resume her writing career as an editor, first at Viking Press, and then later at Doubleday. Her continued leadership was also evident in her involvement with the maintenance of NYC's Grand Central Station, her legislation lobbying in Albany, the revitalization of the Broadway theater district and many other important well-known NY sites. 

Jackie Kennedy Onassis died in her NYC apartment on May 19th, 1994 at the age of 64. She was buried in the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.