Obama was born on August 4, 1961, at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is the only president born outside the contiguous 48 states. He was born to an American mother of European descent and an African father. His mother, Ann Dunham (1942–1995), was born in Wichita, Kansas; she was mostly of English descent, with some German, Irish, Scottish, Swiss, and Welsh ancestry.
In July 2012, Ancestry.com found a strong likelihood that Dunham was descended from John Punch, an enslaved African man who lived in the Colony of Virginia during the seventeenth century. Obama's father, Barack Obama Sr. (1936–1982), was a married Luo Kenyan from Nyang 'Oma Kogelo. Obama's parents met in 1960 in a Russian language class at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where his father was a foreign student on a scholarship. The couple married in Wailuku, Hawaii, on February 2, 1961, six months before Obama was born.
After graduating from Columbia University in 1983, he worked as a community organizer in Chicago. In 1988, he enrolled in Harvard Law School, where he was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. After graduating, he became a civil rights attorney and an academic, teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. Turning to elective politics, he represented the 13th district in the Illinois Senate from 1997 until 2004, when he ran for the U.S. Senate.
Obama received national attention in 2004 with his March Senate primary win, his well-received July Democratic National Convention keynote address, and his landslide November election to the Senate. In 2008, he was nominated by the Democratic Party for president a year after beginning his campaign, and after a close primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. Obama was elected over Republican nominee John McCain in the general election and was inaugurated alongside his running mate, Joe Biden, on January 20, 2009. Nine months later, he was named the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.