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Eunice Kennedy Shriver

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Eunice Mary Kennedy

(1921-07-10)July 10, 1921
DiedAugust 11, 2009(2009-08-11) (aged 88)
Resting placeSt. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church parish cemetery, Centerville, Massachusetts[1]
EducationManhattanville College
Alma materStanford University
Political partyDemocratic
Parent(s)Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy
Eunice Kennedy Shriver (signature).jpg

Eunice Mary Kennedy Shriver, DSG (July 10, 1921 – August 11, 2009)[2] was a member of the Kennedy family. She was a sister of President John F. Kennedy and senators Robert F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy. Her husband, Sargent Shriver, was the United States Ambassador to France during the Lyndon B. Johnson presidency.

In 1962, Shriver founded Camp Shriver, which started on her Maryland farm known as Timberlawn, and evolved into Special Olympics in 1968.[3]

Early life

Eunice Mary Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. She was the fifth of nine children of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., and Rose Fitzgerald.[2]

Shriver was educated at the Convent of The Sacred Heart, Roehampton, London and at Manhattanville College in Upper Manhattan. After graduating from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology in 1943,[4] she worked for the Special War Problems Division of the U.S. State Department. She eventually moved to the U.S. Justice Department as executive secretary for a project dealing with juvenile delinquency. She served as a social worker at the Federal Industrial Institution for Women for one year before moving to Chicago in 1951 to work with the House of the Good Shepherd women's shelter and the Chicago Juvenile Court.[5]

In 1969, Shriver moved to France and pursued her interest in intellectual disability there. She started organizing small activities with Paris organizations, mostly reaching out to families of kids who had special needs to provide activities for them, laying the foundation for a robust international expansion of the Special Olympics in the late '70s and '80s.[6]

Political career

Shriver actively campaigned for her elder brother, John, during his successful 1960 U.S. presidential election. In 1968, she helped Anne McGlone Burke nationalize the Special Olympics movement and is the only woman to have her portrait appear, during her lifetime, on a U.S. coin – the 1995 commemorative Special Olympics silver dollar.

Although Shriver was a Democrat, she was a vocal supporter of the pro-life movement. In 1990, Shriver wrote a letter to The New York Times denouncing the misuse of a quotation by President Kennedy used out of context by a pro-choice group.[7] During Bill Clinton's 1992 Democratic U.S. presidential campaign, she was one of several prominent Democrats – including Governor Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania, and Bishop Austin Vaughan of New York – who signed a letter to The New York Times protesting the Democratic Party's pro-choice plank in its platform. Shriver was a supporter of several pro-life organizations: Feminists for Life of America,[8] the Susan B. Anthony List,[9] and Democrats for Life of America.

A lifelong Democrat, Shriver supported her Republican son-in-law Arnold Schwarzenegger's successful 2003 Governor of California election. On January 28, 2008, Shriver was present at American University in Washington, D.C., when her brother, U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, announced his endorsement of Barack Obama's 2008 Democratic U.S. presidential campaign.[10]

Charity work and awards

Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1980
Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1980
In 2008, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development was renamed in honor of Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
In 2008, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development was renamed in honor of Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver speaks at March 3, 2008 ceremony in her honor
Eunice Kennedy Shriver speaks at March 3, 2008 ceremony in her honor

A longtime advocate for children's health and disability issues, Shriver was a key founder of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), a part of the National Institutes of Health in 1962. She has also helped to establish numerous other university programs, government initiatives, health-care facilities, and support service networks throughout the country. In 1961, she championed the creation of the President's Panel on Mental Retardation which was significant in the movement from institutionalization to community integration in the US and throughout the world, a major public policy challenge.[11] In 1982, Shriver founded the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Center for Community of Caring at University of Utah, Salt Lake City. The Community is a "grades K-12, whole school, comprehensive character education program with a focus on disabilities... adopted by almost 1,200 schools nationwide and in Canada."[12]

She was awarded the nation's highest civilian award, the (U.S.) Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1984 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, because of her work on behalf of those with intellectual disability.[13] In 1990 Shriver was awarded the Eagle Award from the United States Sports Academy. The Eagle Award is the Academy's highest international honor and was awarded to Shriver for her significant contributions to international sport.[14]

In 1992, Shriver received the Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[15]

For her work in nationalizing the Special Olympics, Shriver received the Civitan International World Citizenship Award.[16] Her advocacy on this issue has also earned her other awards and recognitions, including honorary degrees from numerous universities.[17][18] She is the second American and only woman to appear on a US coin while still living. Her portrait is on the obverse of the 1995 commemorative silver dollar honoring the Special Olympics. On the reverse is the quotation, "As we hope for the best in them, hope is reborn in us."

In 1998, Shriver was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.[19]

Shriver received the 2002 Theodore Roosevelt Award (the Teddy),[20] an annual award given by the National Collegiate Athletic Association to a graduate from an NCAA member institution who earned a varsity letter in college for participation in intercollegiate athletics, and who ultimately became a distinguished citizen of national reputation based on outstanding life accomplishment. In addition to the Teddy recognition, she was selected in 2006 as part of the NCAA Centennial celebration as one of the 100 most-influential individuals in its first century; she was listed ninth.[20]

In 2006, she received a papal knighthood from Pope Benedict XVI, being made a Dame of the Order of St. Gregory the Great (DSG). Her mother had been created a papal countess in 1950 by Pope Pius XII.[21]

In 2008, she received the Foremother Aware from the National Center for Health Research for her lifetime achievements that made an indelible mark on the lives of women and families nationwide. [22]

In 2008, the U.S. Congress changed the NICHD's name to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. In December 2008, Sports Illustrated named Shriver the first recipient of Sportsman of the Year Legacy Award.[23] On May 9, 2009, the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in Washington, D.C., unveiled an historic portrait of her, the first portrait the NPG has ever commissioned of an individual who had not served as a U.S. President or First Lady. The portrait depicts her with four Special Olympics athletes (including Loretta Claiborne) and one Best Buddies participant. It was painted by David Lenz, the winner of the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition in 2006. As part of the Portrait Competition prize, the NPG commissioned a work from the winning artist to depict a living subject for the collection. Lenz, whose son, Sam, has Down syndrome and is an enthusiastic Special Olympics athlete, was inspired by Shriver's dedication to working with people with intellectual disabilities.

Shriver became involved with Dorothy Hamill's special skating program in the Special Olympics after Hamill's Olympic Games ice-skating win. In September 2010, the State University of New York at Brockport, home of the 1979 Special Olympics, renamed its football stadium after Shriver.[24]

In July 2017, Shriver posthumously received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2017 ESPY Awards.[25]

Personal life

Eunice and Sargent Shriver in 1999
Eunice and Sargent Shriver in 1999

On May 23, 1953, Shriver married Sargent Shriver in a Roman Catholic ceremony at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.[26] Her husband served as the U.S. Ambassador to France from 1968 to 1970 and was the 1972 Democratic U.S. Vice Presidential candidate (with George McGovern as the candidate for U.S. President).[26] They had five children:

With her husband, Shriver had nineteen grandchildren, the second-most of any of her siblings (her brother Robert had eleven children who have produced thirty-four grandchildren).[27] Her daughter Maria Shriver is divorced from actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As executive vice president of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation in the 1950s, Shriver shifted the organization's focus from Catholic charities to research on the causes of intellectual disabilities and humane ways to treat them.[28] This interest eventually culminated in, among other things, the Special Olympics movement.

Upon the death of her sister Rosemary Kennedy on January 7, 2005, Shriver became the eldest of the four then-surviving children of Joseph and Rose Kennedy. Her sister Patricia Kennedy died on September 17, 2006, and her brother Edward M. Kennedy died on August 25, 2009, leaving former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith as the only surviving sibling.[29]

Later years and death

Shriver, who was believed to have suffered from Addison's disease,[30] suffered a stroke and broken hip in 2005. On November 18, 2007, she was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where she spent several weeks.[31][32] On August 7, 2009, she was admitted to Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, with an undisclosed ailment.[33] On August 10, her relatives were called to the hospital.[34] Early the next morning, Shriver died at the hospital; she was 88 years old.[2][35]

Shriver's family issued a statement upon her death, reading in part:

Inspired by her love of God, her devotion to her family, and her relentless belief in the dignity and worth of every human life, she worked without ceasing—searching, pushing, demanding, hoping for change. She was a living prayer, a living advocate, a living center of power. She set out to change the world and to change us, and she did that and more. She founded the movement that became Special Olympics, the largest movement for acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities in the history of the world. Her work transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the globe, and they in turn are her living legacy.[36]

President Barack Obama remarked after Shriver's death that she was "an extraordinary woman who, as much as anyone, taught our nation—and our world—that no physical or mental barrier can restrain the power of the human spirit."[37]

Funeral and burial

On August 14, 2009, an invitation-only Requiem Mass was celebrated for Shriver at St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church in Hyannis. Following the Requiem Mass, she was buried at the St. Francis Xavier parish cemetery in nearby Centerville.[1] Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter of condolence to her family.[38] Because her brother Ted had terminal brain cancer, he was unable to attend the funeral,[39] and their sister Jean Smith stayed with him. Ted died two weeks later,[29][39] leaving Jean as the sole surviving child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy.

See also


  1. ^ a b Staff writer (August 14, 2009). "Special Olympians, Family Celebrate Eunice Kennedy Shriver" Archived 2009-08-17 at the Wayback Machine. The Associated Press (at WJAR television's website Retrieved August 16, 2000.
  2. ^ a b c Grinberg, Emanuella (n.d.). "Eunice Kennedy Shriver dies". Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  3. ^ "Eunice Kennedy Shriver". Special Olympics. Retrieved 2017-09-04.
  4. ^ Smith, J.Y. (August 11, 2009). "Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Founder of Special Olympics, Dies at 88" The Washington Post. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  5. ^ Baranauckas, Carla (August 12, 2009). "Eunice Shriver, Founder of Special Olympics, Dies". The New York Times. (website registration required)
  6. ^ Cooper, Chet. "Timothy Shriver — Special Olympics". ABILITY Magazine. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  7. ^ Biofiles: Eunice Kennedy Shriver [1]. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  8. ^ Shriver, Eunice Kennedy, "Remarkable Pro-Life Women" Archived 2008-05-29 at the Wayback Machine (PDF format) The American Feminist, The Quarterly Magazine of Feminists for Life of America, Vol. 5, No. 4, Winter 1998–1999, p. 18. Accessed May 28, 2008.
  9. ^ Susan B. Anthony List, Notable Names Database. Accessed May 28, 2008.
  10. ^ Alexander, Amy, "A Torch Passed", The Nation, January 28, 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2009.[dead link]
  11. ^ Braddock, D. (2010, February). Honoring Eunice Kennedy Shriver's legacy in intellectual disability. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 48(1): 63–72.
  12. ^ "About Community of Caring" Archived 2009-03-31 at the Wayback Machine. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Center for Community of Caring. Undated. Retrieved August 14, 2009.
  13. ^ "Remarks at the Presentation Ceremony for the Presidential Medal of Freedom", Archives – Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. March 26, 1984. Accessed May 28, 2008.
  14. ^ "News 21/01/08 – FISU President Receives USSA Award". 2008-01-21. Retrieved 2011-05-26.
  15. ^ "National - Jefferson Awards Foundation".
  16. ^ Armbrester, Margaret E. (1992). The Civitan Story. Birmingham, AL: Ebsco Media. p. 95.
  17. ^ "Eunice Kennedy Shriver – Doctor of Public Service" The Shriver Center, The University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Accessed May 28, 2008.
  18. ^ "Eunice Kennedy Shriver". Special Olympics. Archived from the original on 2008-01-28. Retrieved August 12, 2009.
  19. ^ National Women's Hall of Fame, Eunice Kennedy Shriver
  20. ^ a b Staff writer (August 11, 2009). "2002 Teddy winner Shriver dies at 88"[permanent dead link]. NCAA News (at the National Collegiate Athletic Association). Retrieved August 15, 2009.
  21. ^ "Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum".
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Eunice Kennedy Shriver's legacy lives on with Special Olympics".
  24. ^ [2][dead link]
  25. ^ "Special Olympics Founder Honored at The 2017 ESPYS". Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  26. ^ a b Archives. R(obert) "Sargent Shriver: An Inventory of His Personal Papers, 1948–1976, Papers (#214) – J" John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, John F. Kennedy Library National Archives and Records Administration
  27. ^ "Taylor Swift -- "You Belong with Me" (2009)".
  28. ^ Smith, J.Y. (August 12, 2009). "Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics Founder, Dies at 88". Retrieved 2010-03-02.
  29. ^ a b Staff writer. "Ted Kennedy Dies of Brain Cancer at Age 77 — 'Liberal Lion' of the Senate Led Storied Political Family After Deaths of President John F. Kennedy, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy". ABC News. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  30. ^ Dallek, Robert (2003). An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963. London: Penguin Books. pp. 105, 731. ISBN 978-0-14-101535-4.
  31. ^ "Eunice Kennedy Shriver Hospitalized". Associated Press. November 25, 2007. Retrieved 2009-08-12.
  32. ^ Beggy, Carol and Mark Shanahan, "She's loyal to father's 'Ideal'", The Boston Globe, January 14, 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  33. ^ McGreevy, Patrick. "Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver at Eunice Shriver's bedside", Los Angeles Times. August 7, 2009. Retrieved August 7, 2009.
  34. ^ Staff writer (August 11, 2009). "Eunice Kennedy Shriver's relatives called to hospital". Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  35. ^ Allen, Mike (August 11, 2009). "Eunice Kennedy Shriver dies". Politico.Com. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  36. ^ "Statement from The Shriver Family". Eunice Kennedy Shriver's website. 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
  37. ^ Farr, Michael (August 11, 2010). "One year ago: Eunice Kennedy Shriver". Los Angeles Times.
  38. ^ "Pope's Letter to Kennedy-Shriver Family". Archived from the original on 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
  39. ^ a b McMullen, Troy (August 26, 2009). "The Last Kennedy — Death of Ted Kennedy Leaves One Surviving Child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy". ABC News. Retrieved August 26, 2009.

Further reading

  • Eileen McNamara (2018). Eunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1451642261.

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
William Cohen
Theodore Roosevelt Award (NCAA)
Succeeded by
Donna de Varona
This page was last edited on 7 May 2019, at 20:32
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