By Chip Perri
October 31, 2012
Dominican University’s honors committee takes a Kennedy approach focused on service and social justice for the Honors Program this spring.
Christopher George Kennedy, member of the famous Kennedy family and son of Robert F. Kennedy, was selected as the Lund-Gill Chair for the upcoming spring semester. He will be teaching an honors course titled “Government Policies and Their Effect on Social Justice.”
The chairs of the Honors Department, the dean of Rosary College of Arts and Sciences, and other faculty members decide upon the selection process for the Lund-Gill Chair.
Kennedy has a great deal of business development, economic leadership, and civic involvement experiences, all of which were taken into account when considering his selection to serve as the Chair.
He was the President of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart Properties until this past April, and has been a member of the Executives Club of Chicago, City Club of Chicago, and Commercial Club of Chicago, all of which are dedicated to bringing city business and cultural leaders together to engage in cultural debates and create new economic opportunities. Kennedy has also been involved with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Catholic Theological Union, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Kennedy accepted the offer to serve as the Lund-Gill Chair because he recognizes the issues that Dominican students are exploring. He also has some familiarity with the university, as his father-in-law was a lawyer for the school years back.
“I want to spend time getting to know people of the Dominican community, Kennedy said.
Many of the Honors students are very excited to have the opportunity to learn under the instruction of a well-known businessman and civic leader.
“I thought it would be cool to learn from someone with such a historic background,” freshman Kelli Iovino said, a freshman currently enrolled in the honors course.
Jeffrey Carlson, Dean of the Rosary College of Arts and Sciences, believes the course will challenge Dominican students to think about big issues hitting our country and review local and national policies.
“He has a moral, ethical agenda and we admire that about him,” he said.
Another reason Kennedy agreed to teach the course is because he understands how government policy affects social justice. Currently, he is involved in a local project called Top Box foods, which aims to supply local families with quality foods and stop malnutrition.
Kennedy hopes that his lessons extend beyond the classroom. “The idea of exploring social justice and how they’re affected by government policy continues after I leave [Dominican],” he said.
“I am hoping to learn how the government works with these issues,” Iovino, said when asked about her aspirations for the class.
Carlson has similar aspirations for the students. “I hope they get inspired by public service.”
While Kennedy’s course is specifically an honors program course, he will also be hosting on-campus talks throughout the semester for all Dominican students, faculty, and staff to attend.