Jacalyn Smith Leavitt

Public Service

Jacalyn Smith Leavitt (1950-)

Jacalyn Smith Leavitt was raised in Cache Valley, Utah. She graduated with high honors from Dixie College in 1970, where she was crowned Homecoming Queen and was a song leader. Jacalyn then attended Utah State University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Speech and Elementary Education.

Mrs. Leavitt became Utah’s 14th First Lady on January 4, 1993. As a result of her leadership, programs to encourage strong families have increased and volunteer efforts benefitting the state’s youth have grown. She co-chaired GIFT, the Governor’s Initiative on Families Today, which hosted regular conferences to strengthen Utah’s marriages and families. She and her husband, former Governor Michael Leavitt, formed the Governor’s Commission on Marriage – the first in the nation. She founded and served as chair of the statewide Every Child by Two immunization task force and received the individual leadership award from the national Every Child by Two campaign. She served as the spokesperson for Baby Watch, a program for early detection of developmental delay in children. In conjunction with Utah’s Promise, she developed the Read to Me Campaign that encourages parents to read to their children, and authored Read to Me, a children’s picture book that is sent to the parents of every newborn. Mrs. Leavitt also served as chair of the National Governors Association Spouses’ Program, where she led the spouses of the nation’s governors. She and her husband, who served as Secretary of Health and Human Services in President George W. Bush’s cabinet, are the parents of five children.