Victoria Reggie Kennedy to Give SSW Commencement Address

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April 11th, 2011

Victoria Reggie Kennedy

Victoria Reggie Kennedy

Boston University School of Social Work Dean Gail Steketee has announced that Victoria Reggie Kennedy – attorney, health care proponent, and wife of late Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) – will be the keynote speaker at the School of Social Work Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 20. Ms. Kennedy will also receive an honorary Doctor of Laws at the Boston University Commencement on Sunday, May 22.

A powerful advocate for the enactment of health care reform, Ms. Kennedy stood alongside President Barack Obama at the White House as he signed the landmark health care legislation into law in March 2010. She continues to advocate for the law and explain its benefits to constituency groups around the country.

“We are delighted that Victoria Kennedy has so generously agreed to speak to our graduating students,” Steketee said. “I’m certain the graduates will take pleasure in hearing her on this very important day in their lives that marks the beginning of productive careers in the noble and challenging profession of social work.”

Ms. Kennedy is the co-founder and trustee of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, which is being built adjacent to the John F. Kennedy Library at the University of Massachusetts – Boston. The Institute will educate visitors about the essential role of the United States Senate, and work to invigorate public discourse, encourage participatory democracy, and inspire the next generation of citizens and leaders.

A passionate advocate for issues that affect the lives of women, children and families, Ms. Kennedy co-founded Common Sense about Kids and Guns, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that works to reduce gun deaths and injuries to children in the United States.

Ms. Kennedy is a member of the Advisory Board of the Edward M. Kennedy Oral History Project, the largest oral history project of a living person ever undertaken. Located at the University of Virginia, the project is a multi-year effort that examined the Senator Kennedy’s life and career. It includes hundreds of hours of interviews with Senator Kennedy, and more than 150 additional interviews with colleagues and world leaders.

Playing an active role in Senator Kennedy’s re-election campaigns in 1994, 2000, and 2006, Ms. Kennedy created the Massachusetts Women’s Council, which served as a model for similar campaigns around the country.  In 2008, she served a co-chair of Catholics for Obama-Biden during the presidential campaign, and remains active in her support of candidates in Massachusetts and around the country.

Appointed by President Obama, she is member of the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Ms. Kennedy is also a member of the Board of Overseers at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and serves on the Boards of Catholic Democrats of Massachusetts and the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management.

From 1980 to 1997, she practiced law in the private sector with special emphasis on the federal and state regulation of domestic commercial banks and savings and loan institutions. She received her bachelor’s degree from Newcomb College, and her Juris Doctor degree from Tulane University Law School. She has two children, three step-children, four grandchildren and two Portuguese water dogs.

The School of Social Work Commencement ceremony will be held on Friday, May 20 at 4:00 pm at the Boston University Fitness and Recreation Center (915 Commonwealth Ave.).

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.

CONTACT: Jason L. London | london14@bu.edu | 617.358.5149