December 17 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Eunice Kennedy Shriver receives Honorary Degree

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Directors of the Peace Corps: Peace Corps Founding Director Sargent Shriver: Sargent Shriver: Archived Stories: December 17 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Eunice Kennedy Shriver receives Honorary Degree

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Eunice Kennedy Shriver receives Honorary Degree

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Celebrating the gifts of the disabled *

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Celebrating the gifts of the disabled

Dec 17, 2001 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Author(s): Amy Hetzner



Celebrating the gifts of the disabled

Monday, December 17, 2001

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, 80, has been the sister to a U.S. president, wife of the former director of the Peace Corps, mother of a television journalist and mother-in-law to a Hollywood film star. But she was in Milwaukee to receive an honorary doctorate from Cardinal Stritch University because of her own accomplishments -- namely as founder and honorary chairwoman of Special Olympics. Since she started the competitive games for people with disabilities, an outgrowth of a day camp the Shriver family once held for children with mental retardation at their Maryland home, it has grown to an endeavor involving more than 1.5 million athletes from 130 nations competing in 22 sports.

She has been involved in numerous other efforts to improve the lives of people with disabilities and mental retardation. Shriver spoke recently with Journal Sentinel reporter Amy Hetzner.

Q. You started the Special Olympics in 1968. Are you surprised in its growth since then?

A. I am surprised. Not at the Special Olympians, because I think they have enormous amounts of gifts. . . . I think the growth comes from them. And that doesn't surprise me.

Q. You have been awarded more than 10 honorary degrees, including the one from Cardinal Stritch. What do you think of those awards?

A. I'm very honored to receive the degree from Cardinal Stritch. The people who run the universities are very impressive. . . . Teachers are an incredible group of people -- they lead us, they tend to our children, they lead our kids.

Q. How do you think a president from the Kennedy family would handle the current situation?

A. It's very hard. You know my brother (John F. Kennedy) was president in the '60s. It's hard to predict this much time later. It's a very different time. We've been through a lot since then.

Q. What would you like your legacy to be?

A. I don't know. I'm interested in people with mental retardation. And what I do here, at Cardinal Stritch, makes a difference in their lives and makes them feel more important. . . . I'd like to see people say, "She worked with others and made a difference."

Q. Your son-in-law, Arnold (Schwarzenegger), was in a motorcycle accident recently. How's he doing?

A. He's doing fine.

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