Susan Ford Bales
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, Trustee

March 24, 1982 through Present
Also served as Vice-Chairman from 1989-1991, 1997-1999, 2001-2003

Susan Ford Bales, daughter of President Gerald R. Ford and Betty Ford, was raised in Alexandria, Virginia, and attended Holton Arms School and the University of Kansas. Susan is the Ship’s Sponsor for the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). In recognition of her extraordinary service as the Ship’s Sponsor, Susan was named an Honorary Naval Aviator by the United States Navy, becoming only the 31st American to receive this distinction, and the first woman ever to be so honored. She is the recipient of three honorary doctorate degrees and is the author of two novels set in the White House.

During her high school years, Susan lived in the White House and served as official White House hostess following her mother’s surgery for breast cancer. In 1984, she and her mother helped launch National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Susan subsequently served as national spokesperson for breast cancer awareness. Since its founding in 1982, Susan worked side by side with her mother on projects at the Betty Ford Center and was elected to the center’s board of directors in 1992. She succeeded her mother as chairman of the board of directors, and currently serves on the board of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. In addition to her service as a Foundation trustee, Susan serves as trustee of the Elizabeth B. Ford Charitable Trust and the President Gerald R. Ford Historical Legacy Trust, global ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and a member of the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens Foundation executive board and the Honorary Advisory Committee of the Children’s National Medical Center.

Read Oral History Interview with Susan Ford Bales

Remarks at USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Ship Sponsor Luncheon on July 21, 2017
(remarks begin at 35:47 of video)

Susan Ford Bales with her father, Gerald R. Ford. (Photo Courtesy of Susan Ford Bales)

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