Inducted into the Michigan Walk of Fame on May 25, 2006 and considered “The First Lady of the Press,” former White House Bureau Chief Helen Thomas is a trailblazer who broke through barriers for women reporters. Thomas worked for United Press International for more than 55 years covering every president since John F. Kennedy. She was the first woman officer of the National Press Club and the only female print journalist to accompany President Nixon on his breakthrough trip to China in 1972.
The daughter of Lebanese immigrants, Thomas moved to Detroit as a young child with her family. "Whenever I'm asked where is my home," Thomas explained at her induction ceremony, "I always say Detroit. It's a great city with a vibrant human history." Thomas graduated from the Detroit Public Schools and Wayne State University.
She has received numerous honorary degrees and professional honors. In 2000 the Society of Professional Journalists named her the first recipient of its Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award. She was given membership in the Gridiron Club, a formerly all-male journalism fraternity.