Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Eunice Kennedy Shriver was born on July 10th, 1921 in Brookline, Massachusetts.

She graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology in 1943. She worked with the U.S. State Department in the Special War Problems Division and the U.S. Justice Department as an executive secretary for a project that dealt with juvenile delinquency.

Eunice was the executive vice president of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation in the 1950s during which time she shifted the focus of the organization from Catholic charities to research on the cause of mental retardation and humane treatments. Her interest in this cause was a factor in the Special Olympics movement.

Shriver was a key founder in the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development in 1962. In 1982 she founded the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Center for Community Caring.

Eunice was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984 because of her work for those with mental disabilities. She received the Civitan International World Citizenship Award for her work in founding the Special Olympics for which her portrait appears on a commemorative coin commissioned in 1995.

In 2002 she received the Theodore Roosevelt Award from the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

In 2006 she received a papal knighthood from Pope Benedict XVI and was named a Dame of the Order of St. Gregory the Great.

Eunice died on August 11th, 2009 at age 88. She was buried at St. Francis Xavier cemetery in Centerville, MA.

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