In February 2017, Betsy DeVos reached one of the pinnacles of public service in the United States as she was confirmed by the Senate to serve in the president’s cabinet as Secretary of Education. That is an area DeVos has long been an advocate of since the 1990s, as she has championed charter schools, school vouchers, and served on the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a think tank that seeks improvements to the American Education System. But before DeVos took on the mantle as Secretary of Education, she wore many hats in many fields.DeVos — formerly Betsy Prince — was born in Holland, Michigan in 1958. Her father, Edgar, was the founder of the Prince Corporation, a car parts supplier. Growing up in a business environment, it was no surprise that when she attended Calvin College, her major was business economics. She graduated from the school in 1979.
Ten years after her graduation, DeVos and her husband Dick — who hails from one of the wealthiest families in the U.S. — founded the Windquest Group, which invests in areas such as clean energy and technology. DeVos served as the chairwoman for the company. She and her husband are also investors in the company Neurocare, which specializes in biofeedback care for those suffering from autism, attention deficit disorder, and depression. DeVos worked in politics long before she was tapped as Secretary of Education. She was a Republican National Committeewoman from 1992-1997, and also served as Chairwoman of the Michigan Republic Party from 1996-2000, and again from 2003-2005.
DeVos and her family have been very active in philanthropic causes, especially in education. A lot of her focus has been on school choice, and she has helped move forward legislation and programs in Florida, Louisiana, and Indiana to garner more support to the charter school system. DeVos pointed out that 50,000 students in Florida are now in charter schools. She has also set up foundations and scholarships for low income families to aid them in sending their children to the schools of their choice. Along with her educational activism, DeVos has also devoted time and funds to programs like ArtPrize, and has also aided Christian evangelical missions. She also served on the board of directors of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts from 2004-2010.