Former Maryland Lt. Governor and Founder Georgetown Center for Retirement Initiatives
Kathleen’s faith was shaped as she grew up in a large Irish Catholic family and attended Catholic schools. The eldest child of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, she saw her parents make the connection between faith and justice, between faith and the common good. Civil rights was a moral issue - poverty unacceptable. Her father’s article “Suppose God is Black?” highlighted for her the notion that our religious beliefs were intimately connected to our public actions. She founded the Maryland Student Service Alliance to make Maryland the first, and still only state that requires young people to engage in community service as a condition of graduation. And, as Maryland’s first woman Lt. Governor, she instituted the office of Character Education - to provide a focal point for the teaching of responsibility and respect to the next generation. Before being elected Lt. Governor, Mrs. Townsend served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States. Kathleen serves on a number of non-profit boards. She is the chairman of the Institute for Human Virology at the University of Maryland and serves on the board of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, the Points of Light Foundation, National Catholic Reporter, and the Character Education Partnership, among others. While serving as the chairman of the board of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, she created the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Mrs. Townsend is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Kathleen has been appointed an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s School of Public Policy and has been a Visiting Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government where she focused her efforts on faith and public life. Mrs. Townsend is an honors graduate of Harvard University, and holds a law degree from the University of New Mexico where she was a member of the law review.