November 9, 2008 Guest – Kathleen Kennedy
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the
eldest child of Robert F. Kennedy, worked in the U.S. Department of Justice
before serving two terms as Maryland's lieutenant governor. She has taught at
Georgetown University and the University of Pennsylvania, speaks regularly on
political and religious issues, and is engaged in philanthropic work. She and
her husband have raised four daughters and live in Baltimore.
Kathleen’s faith was shaped as
she grew up in a large Irish Catholic family and attended Catholic schools. The
eldest child of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, she saw her parents make the
connection between faith and justice, between faith and the common good. Civil
rights was a moral issue - poverty unacceptable. Her father’s article “Suppose
God is Black?” highlighted for her the notion that our religious beliefs were
intimately connected to our public actions. In the early eighties, Kathleen
wrote a number of articles connecting faith to the fight for a fairer society.
She founded the Maryland Student Service Alliance to make Maryland the first,
and still only state that requires young people to engage in community service
as a condition of graduation. And, as Maryland’s first woman Lt. Governor, she
instituted the office of Character Education - to provide a focal point for the
teaching of responsibility and respect to the next generation.
Kathleen serves on a number of
non-profit boards. She is the chairman of the Institute for Human Virology at
the University of Maryland and serves on the board of the John F. Kennedy
Library Foundation, the Points of Light Foundation, National Catholic Reporter,
and the Character Education Partnership, among others. While serving as the
chairman of the board of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, she created the Robert
F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Mrs. Townsend is a member of the Council on
Foreign Relations. Before being elected Lt.
Governor, Mrs. Townsend served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the
United States. She helped design and launch the nationally acclaimed Police
Corps, a program that gives college scholarships to young people who pledge to
work as police officers for four years after graduating.
Kathleen has been appointed an
Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s School of Public Policy and has
been a Visiting Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government where she focused her
efforts on faith and public life. Mrs. Townsend is an honors graduate of
Harvard University, and holds a law degree from the University of New Mexico
where she was a member of the law review. She has received ten honorary degrees
and has published several articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, and
Washington Monthly, among others.
She lives in Baltimore County
with her husband, David, a professor at St. John’s College in Annapolis. They
have four daughters.