Helen Thomas was familiar to millions of Americans as the senior White House correspondent, beginning in the Kennedy Administration, ending all presidential press conferences by saying "Thank you, Mr. President" until her retirement in 2010. She was born in Winchester, Kentucky, to an immigrant family from Lebanon, and raised in Detroit, Michigan. She decided to become a journalist while in high school. She graduated from Wayne State University in 1942 with a bachelor's degree in English and moved to Washington, D.C. Her first journalism job was as a copygirl for the Washington Daily News. Eight months later, she joined her co-workers in a strike and was fired. She joined United Press in 1943, and worked for it and its successor United Press International (UPI) for a total of 57 years, rising to White House bureau manager. She became a columnist for Hearst Newspapers in 2000, writing on national affairs and the White House. She covered the administrations of 11 presidents and was the first female member and president of the White House Correspondents' Association. She wrote six books, including Dateline: White House (1975) and Thanks for the Memories, Mr. President: Wit and Wisdom from the Front Row at the White House (2003).