First Lady Michelle Engler Biography

Michelle Engler, married to Governor John Engler, is the first lawyer to serve as Michigan's First Lady. A native Texan, she is a member of the Michigan and Texas State Bar Associations.

As First Lady, Michelle served for nine years as the founding chair of the Michigan Community Service Commission, which encourages all state citizens to make a commitment to community service. In 1997, Michelle was appointed by now Secretary of State Colin Powell to serve on the board of America's Promise - The Alliance for Youth. Reappointed in 1998, she continues to help sustain the mission launched at the Presidents' Summit for America's Future to commit to help all young people, especially those at risk, to become healthy, happy, and productive adults.  Michelle is a member of the board of directors of the Connect Michigan Alliance and the national Points of Light Foundation. 

Michelle served as a member of the National Commission on Service-Learning, chaired by former United States Senator John Glenn.  Michelle worked with other Commission members to increase service learning education programs that incorporate community service  with the K-12 curriculum.  She also works to promote the Michigan Harvest Gathering, a collaborative effort of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and the private sector to support the Michigan Food Bank Council.

Michelle received the Karmanos Cancer Institute's Award for Leadership for her work in promoting breast cancer awareness and her work with the Michigan Department of Community Health on women's health issues. She has also received Northwood University's Distinguished Women's Award, presented to women of "outstanding leadership and achievement" from across the nation.  She also received the '2002 Public Leader of the Year' award from Habitat for Humanity of Michigan, an honor she shared with Governor Engler.


An active supporter of the Salvation Army, she was honored by the Detroit Chapter with the Army's Other Award, and has received the prestigious William Booth Award from the Grand Rapids Chapter. She is also the recipient of honorary degrees from Alma College, Wayne State University and Northern Michigan University.

Michelle received her bachelor's degree in government at the University of Texas and is a graduate of the University of Texas Law School. Prior to her marriage, Michelle DeMunbrun was a partner in the Texas law firm of Nathan, Wood and Sommers, where she specialized in bankruptcy law and commercial litigation.  She also served as Of Counsel for the Grand Rapids law firm Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt, & Howlett from 1992 - 1994.  In 2001, Michelle was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as a member of the Federal Home Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac).  She was re-appointed to this position in 2002.


The Englers are the proud parents of triplet daughters, Margaret Rose, Hannah Michelle, and Madeleine Jenny,  born on November 13, 1994.