Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

  • Former Lt. Governor, Maryland
  • Education and Health Care Advocate
  • Humanitarian and Public Servant

A life long advocate for women, children and the underserved, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s career has focused on creating public and private partnerships to solve some of the most intractable problems facing America today.


Kathleen Kennedy  Townsend headshot
Innovation in Education - Get Sharable Link
Talks & Conversations with Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

Public and Private Sector Partnerships: Searching for Solutions to America’s Social Problems

Books by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is a true testament to Kennedy family credo of the value of public service. "Be kind and work for your country," her father Robert Kennedy once wrote, "as the eldest of the Kennedy children you have a special responsibility."

Elected the first female Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Townsend worked hard for the issues people cared about most. Stressing the rewards of volunteerism, she proved that activism led to effective government. She explored ethics in education, business, and government, firmly committed to teaching personal and social responsibility. She led Maryland to become the first state in the nation requiring high school students to perform community service to graduate.

Offering results-oriented strategies, Townsend fostered economic development. She established innovative approaches to fighting crime, bringing together law enforcement and community leaders. Deeply committed to youth and family issues, she devoted substantial efforts to ensuring quality healthcare and education for children.

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.

Before being elected Lt. Governor, Mrs. Townsend served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States. She helped design and launch the nationally acclaimed Police Corps, a program that gives college scholarships to young people who pledge to work as police officers for four years after graduating

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. She has received ten honorary degrees and has published several articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Washington Monthly, among others.