Updated on 10/21/2009 5:00:37 PM.
By: Carl Haywood, Ph.D.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver is being remembered in the mass media principally for starting and directing Special Olympics. Although that is an important achievement, we should recall that she was instrumental in the creation of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development within the National Institutes of Health, the institute that has been the prime source of funding for the Kennedy Center since even before the Center opened. In addition, through the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, Mrs. Shriver stimulated research into the causes, prevention, and amelioration of intellectual and other developmental disabilities.
Mrs. Shriver’s many visits to the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center are remembered warmly, because of her lively and intelligent interest in the research programs and also because of her obvious devotion to the welfare of children. Because of her leadership of the Kennedy Foundation, an enduring pattern of collaboration between private philanthropic organizations and academic/research institutions was firmly established and applied in many settings, with substantial benefits to citizens with intellectual disabilities, to the scientific enterprise, and to the host universities.
Mrs. Shriver's mother, Rose Kennedy, was known often to say, "To whom much is given, from them much is required." Mrs. Shriver and her husband, R. Sargent Shriver, demonstrated over and over their commitment to that principle.
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