Faith Whittlesey

U.S. Ambassador To Switzerland
Born Feb 21, 1939

Faith Ryan Whittlesey is a former Republican politician and White House Senior Staff member notable for her effort to communicate Reagan's entire policy agenda to U.S. opinion leaders and for bringing together for the first time in the Reagan White House evangelical, Catholic, and other conservative Christian groups who opposed legalized abortion. These groups became a significant component of the Reagan coalition as they grew more politically self-conscious in the 1980s.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Faith Whittlesey.


1939 Birth Whittlesey was born Faith Ryan in 1939 in Jersey City, New Jersey to Martin Roy Ryan of Maybrook, New York, and Amy Jerusha (Covell) of Popes Mills, New York. … Read More


1955 16 Years Old In 1955 she was selected to participate in the American Field Service program to Flensburg, Germany.
1958 19 Years Old In 1958 she participated in the Experiment in International Living program to Austria.


1960 21 Years Old She earned a full-tuition scholarship to attend Wells College in Aurora, New York, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and cum laude in 1960 with a BA in history. … Read More
She has one sibling, Thomas Martin Ryan, who graduated Yale College magna cum laude in 1963, received an MA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


1972 33 Years Old In 1972 she was elected as a Representative in the Pennsylvania Legislature representing the 166th Legislative District in Delaware County.
Whittlesey worked her entire adult life, including when pregnant and after her husband died in 1974. … Read More
1975 36 Years Old In 1975 she was elected to the Delaware County Board of Commissioners, now known as the Delaware County Council and reelected in 1979. (Delaware County was at the time larger in population than 5 states of the Union.) She served alternately as Chairman and Vice Chairman.
1976 37 Years Old Whittlesey was elected an alternate delegate from Pennsylvania to the 1976 Republican National Convention and as a delegate in 1980 and 1984.
1978 39 Years Old She lost the 1978 Republican primary for Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania. … Read More


1980 41 Years Old As an elected delegate at the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit, Whittlesey co-chaired with Congressman Jack Kemp the Subcommittee for Foreign Policy and Defense of the Platform Committee and delivered Reagan's defense plank to the Convention. … Read More
1983 44 Years Old Whittlesey was named Assistant to the President for Public Liaison in 1983 at the suggestion of Ronald Reagan's Ambassador to Austria and personal assistant Helene A. von Damm and with the urging of White House Chief of Staff James Baker and Deputy Chief of Staff Michael Deaver. … Read More
1985 46 Years Old …  She was the first to greet President Reagan as he stepped off the plane in Geneva for his meeting with Gorbachev in November, 1985. After the Democrats took control of the Senate in 1986, giving them control of both Houses of Congress, allegations were made to Attorney General Edwin Meese that Whittlesey had granted diplomatic favors for private contributions to her State Department-administered representational fund and that she had also obstructed justice. … Read More


2000 61 Years Old Whittlesey converted to Roman Catholicism in 2000 in Staten Island, New York, having been greatly influenced as a result of her Reagan administration association with John Cardinal O'Connor of New York. … Read More
2001 62 Years Old Whittlesey's diplomatic career resumed very briefly in 2001 when she was named by President George W. Bush to be an At-Large Member of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects. … Read More
2008 69 Years Old For 19 years, Whittlesey served as President and Chairman of the Board of the American Swiss Foundation; beginning in February 2008, she became Chairman Emeritus. … Read More
2010 71 Years Old After completing her second tour as United States Ambassador to Switzerland, Whittlesey was named as Chairman and President of the American Swiss Foundation in New York. For more than two decades, she worked "to protect and strengthen the friendship between the United States and Switzerland," which in 2010 was the largest direct foreign investor in the U.S. Whittlesey conceived of and established a bipartisan young leaders' program that for 22 years has brought together young opinion leaders and professionals from Switzerland and the United States for an intensive, week-long conference in Switzerland. … Read More
2012 73 Years Old 1 More Event
In 2012, she joined the Board of the Rockford Institute in Rockford, Illinois, and, in 2013, the Advisory Board of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity in Washington, D.C. She is a longtime member of the University Club of Washington, D.C., and for several years has served on the Newsmax International Advisory Board. … Read More
2015 76 Years Old Continuing as a member of the Pennsylvania bar, Whittlesey also served, until her retirement in 2015, on numerous corporate boards after she left government service.
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