The Cheney Family

The Institute is forever grateful for the generous contribution from former vice president Richard Cheney and Mrs. Lynne Cheney that enabled the founding of this Institute. Their appreciation of the outstanding cardiovascular care received at The George Washington University led to the vision of a new cardiovascular institute that would be a leading center in the fight against heart disease.

Photo by David Bohrer

Former Vice President Richard B. Cheney

Former vice president Richard B. Cheney has had a distinguished career as a businessman and public servant, serving four Presidents and as an elected official. Throughout his service, Mr. Cheney has served with duty, honor, and unwavering leadership.

Mr. Cheney was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on January 30, 1941 and grew up in Casper, Wyoming. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s of arts degrees from the University of Wyoming. His career in public service began in 1969 when he joined the Nixon Administration, serving in a number of positions at the Cost of Living Council, at the Office of Economic Opportunity, and within the White House.

When Gerald Ford assumed the Presidency in August 1974, Mr. Cheney served on the transition team and later as Deputy Assistant to the President. In November 1975, he was named Assistant to the President and White House Chief of Staff, a position he held throughout the remainder of the Ford Administration.

After he returned to his home state of Wyoming in 1977, Mr. Cheney was elected to serve as the state’s sole Congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was re-elected five times and elected by his colleagues to serve as Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee from 1981 to 1987. He was elected Chairman of the House Republican Conference in 1987 and elected House Minority Whip in 1988.

Mr. Cheney also served a crucial role as Secretary of Defense from March 1989 to January 1993.  Mr. Cheney directed two of the largest military campaigns in recent history – Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East. He was responsible for shaping the future of the U.S. military in an age of profound and rapid change as the Cold War ended. For his leadership in the Gulf War, Secretary Cheney was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George Bush on July 3, 1991.

Photo by David Bohrer

Lynne V. Cheney

Lynne Cheney has spent much of her professional life writing and speaking about the importance of knowing history and teaching it well.  As chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1986 to 1993, she published American Memory, a report that warned about the failure of schools to transmit knowledge of the past to upcoming generations.  Currently, as a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, she particularly emphasizes the value of knowing our nation’s history.

Mrs. Cheney has written articles about history for numerous publications on topics ranging from woman suffrage in the West to the way Americans celebrated the country’s centennial. She was a member of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the Constitution and served on Texas Governor George W. Bush’s education team.

Mrs. Cheney is the author or co-author of ten books, including five bestsellers about American history for children and their families.  Mrs. Cheney earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with highest honors from Colorado College, her Master of Arts from the University of Colorado, and her Ph.D. with a specialization in 19th-Century British literature from the University of Wisconsin. She is the recipient of awards and honorary degrees from numerous colleges and universities.


Former vice president Cheney and Mrs. Cheney were married in 1964. They have two grown daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, four granddaughters, and three grandsons.