Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Born:

  • 10 July 1921
  • Brookline, Massachusetts

Died:

  • 11 August 2009
  • Hyannis Port, Massachusetts

Spouse:

  • Sargent Shriver (1953-2009)

Parents:

  • Joseph P. Kennedy Sr.
  • Rose F. Kennedy

Children:

  • Bobby Shriver
  • Maria Shriver
  • Timothy Shriver
  • Mark Shriver
  • Anthony Shriver

Education:

  • Convent of the Sacred Heart
  • Manhattanville College
  • Stanford University (graduated with Bachelor of Science degree in sociology in 1943)

Personal Background:

  • Helped to found the Special Olympics for disabled individuals
  • 1943: worked for the Special War Problems Division of the United States Department
  • Moved to the United States Justice Department as Executive Secretary for a project which dealt with juvenile delinquency.
  • 1950: Served as a social worker at the Federal Industrial Institution for Women
  • 1951: Worked with the House of the Good Shepherd women’s shelter and the Chicago Juvenile Court.
  • 1962: Founded the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which is a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Awards and Recognition:

  • 1984: Awarded the nation’s highest civilian award, the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom due to her work on behalf of those with intellectual disabilities.
  • 1990: Awarded the Eagle Award from the United States Sports Academy, the Academy’s highest international honor, due to her significant contributions to international sports.
  • 1992: Received the Award for Greatest Public Service Benefitting the Disadvantaged, which is given out annually by Jefferson Awards.
  • 1995: Received the Civilian International World Citizenship Award for her advocacy on the Special Olympics
  • 1995: her portrait appears on the obverse of the 1995 commemorative silver dollar honoring the Special Olympics. On the reverse side is the quote, “As we hope for the best in them, hope is reborn in us.”
  • 2002: Received the Theodore Roosevelt Award, an annual award given by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
  • 2006: Selected as part of the NCAA Centennial celebration as one of the 100 most influential individuals in its first century; Shriver was listed as number nine.
  • 2006: Received a papal knighthood from Pope Benedict XVI, being made a Dame of the Order of St. Gregory the Great.
  • 2008: The United States Congress changed the NICHD’s name to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
  • 2008: Sports Illustrated named Shriver the first recipient of the Sportsman of the Year Legacy Award
  • 2009: 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 Olympics Games ice-skating win.
  • 2010: the State University of New York at Brockport, home of the 1979 Special Olympics, renamed its football stadium after Shriver.