Kerry Kennedy to Speak at Hunter’s January Commencement

Kerry Kennedy, one of the nation’s foremost human rights activists, will deliver the January 21, 2010 Hunter Commencement address. In 1988 Kennedy established the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights in memory of her father. She has led more than 40 human rights delegations around the world and has campaigned tirelessly for numerous causes, including children’s rights, judicial independence and the environment.

Kennedy has been a leading global advocate for women’s issues, working to expose workplace discrimination, and domestic violence. She has also fought passionately against child labor, the violation of indigenous land rights, as well as ethnic violence. Currently serving as chair of Amnesty International’s USA Leadership Council, Kennedy is also the best-selling author of “Being Catholic Now: Prominent Americans Talk About Change in the Church and the Quest for Meaning.”

A graduate of Brown University and Boston College Law School, Kennedy holds honorary doctorates of law from Le Moyne College and the University of San Francisco Law School, and an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Bay Path College.

Also being honored at the ceremony are Barbara and Donald Jonas, who will receive the President’s Medal for their visionary philanthropy and commitment to excellence in health care. The Jonas Family Fund concentrates its philanthropic giving programs on nursing (its primary focus), mental health and at-risk youth and families.

A prominent retail executive, Mr. Jonas is the founder and former chairman of the Barbara Lynn stores, its successor company, Belscott Retailers, as well as the Lechters Housewares retail chain. He started the Read to Feed Program in New York City public and private schools, and currently serves as an advisor to the Jonas Family Fund as well as the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence, as does Mrs. Jonas.

A career psychotherapist, Mrs. Jonas established the Barbara Jonas Centers for the Study and Treatment of Children at Risk at the Departments of Psychiatry at New York University and Columbia Presbyterian Medical Centers.