Cecile de Jongh
became First Lady of the Virgin Islands when her husband, Governor John P.
de Jongh, Jr. was inaugurated as the Territory's
seventh elected governor on January 1, 2007.
As first lady, Mrs.
de Jongh promotes several causes, including one that has touched her own family. She has established two local chapters of Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) to help raise awareness about the disorder and to seek support for affected families and is currently a member of the CHADD National Board. She also is certified as a Parent-to-Parent Teacher through
Mrs. de Jongh
is working to help improve the Virgin Islands' literacy rate and serves as the spokesperson for the territory's Big Read initiative, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. She is an outspoken advocate for homeownership and is a founding member and honorary board member of Habitat for Humanity International of the Virgin Islands. She also advocates for improved care for the elderly and individuals with disabilities.
A strong supporter of Special Olympics, the
first lady launched Camp Shriver in 2007 in St. Thomas and St. Croix. Camp Shriver, initially established in the 1960s by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, is a two-week camp providing recreational activities for people with intellectual disabilities. Mrs.
de Jongh also has embarked on an initiative to improve the First Lady's Garden in the historic district of St. Thomas.
The first lady is a trustee for the Antilles School, and she has served on the foundation board of the University of the Virgin Islands for 12 years. She is also a board member of the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Women's Leadership Board. Recently, the First Lady was honored as a Rotary Person of the Year.
Mrs. de Jongh
was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, where her father was stationed as a physician with the U.S. Army. When she was nine months old, she and her family moved back to her parents' native home, the Virgin Islands. After attending Marquette University, where she earned a degree in business administration and marketing, she returned to the Virgin Islands to accept a position with Chase Manhattan Bank in St. Croix. During her tenure with the bank, she was selected to attend its Western Hemisphere Credit Training Program in Puerto Rico; she later rose to the position of Vice President of commercial and mortgage lending.
The de Jonghs were married in 1986, and they have three children, John III, Rene and Julian.