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U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy is currently the senior Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in the Senate. He will speak at the 176th Wesleyan commencement.
Posted 02.01.08

Senator Kennedy to Address Class of 2008

U.S. Senator Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy will deliver the main address at Wesleyan's 176th commencement in May.

Senator Kennedy, a Democrat, is the senior senator from Massachusetts and the second longest-serving current member of the U.S. Senate.

“Senator Kennedy has long been a thoughtful and energetic supporter of higher education in the United States,” says Wesleyan's President Michael Roth. “In this time of great change at our universities, it is particularly important to hear his perspective.”

Throughout his career, Kennedy has been an advocate for universal health care, immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, defending the rights of workers and their families, strengthening civil rights, assisting individuals with disabilities, fighting for cleaner water and cleaner air, and protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare.

"Senator Kennedy's career of service to our highest national ideals models the qualities of leadership and civic engagement that liberal arts colleges and universities seek to develop in our students," Roth says. "We are proud to host so powerful an advocate for education and civil rights, and particularly to have him address our graduating seniors, their families, and the larger Wesleyan community."

Kennedy is currently the senior Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in the Senate. He also serves on the Judiciary Committee, where he is the senior Democrat on the Immigration Subcommittee, and on the Armed Services Committee, where he is the senior Democrat on the Seapower Subcommittee. He is a member of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and the Congressional Friends of Ireland, and a trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Kennedy's ties to Wesleyan include his son, Edward Jr. '83, who will be celebrating his 25th reunion this year, and step-daughter Caroline Raclin '08, who will be receiving her bachelor of arts degree at the ceremonies. Kennedy himself received an honorary doctorate from Wesleyan in 1984.

Kennedy is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Virginia Law School. He lives in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, with his wife Victoria Reggie Kennedy. Together, they have five children – Kara, Edward Jr., and Patrick Kennedy, and Curran and Caroline Raclin. They also have four grandchildren.

Wesleyan's 176th Commencement Ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 25.
By David Pesci, director of media relations