Timothy Shriver Delivers 2022 College Commencement Address
Advocate, educator and film producer Timothy Shriver delivered the commencement address to Georgetown University’s College of Arts and Sciences Class of 2022.
Shriver is best known for his work with the Special Olympics, where he serves as the Chairman of the Board. His career has been marked by service and aiding those who sometimes find themselves on the peripheries of society. Drawing on his decades of work with the Special Olympics, Shriver urged radical compassion and kindness.
“As you leave here, challenge your assumptions and take with you a willingness, dare I say a commitment, to break with labeling, stigmatizing and demonizing other people,” Shriver said.
Acknowledging the myriad problems facing the nation and the world, Shriver encouraged the graduates to boldly work and act for a greater good.
“You have been trained here, perhaps better than any community of young men and women in history, to bring both the power of your minds and the strength of your spirit to bear to help support, save and transform a country facing a spiritual crisis,” Shriver said.
Shriver, who holds an undergraduate degree from Yale University, a master’s degree from Catholic University and a doctorate in education from the University of Connecticut, has researched the social and emotional factors that impact learning.
After completing his undergraduate degree, Shriver worked with underserved youth communities in New Haven, Connecticut. This experience led him to found the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, or CASEL. Through CASEL, Shriver pushed for pre-k education to be more holistic, including relationship skills, capacity for empathy and emotional intelligence alongside traditional academics.
The Special Olympics began when Shriver’s mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, started a summer camp for people with intellectual disabilities in their own backyard in 1968. In the years since, it has grown into an international organization across more than 200 countries involving some 6 million athletes.
Deborah Phillips, a Professor in the Department of Psychology, read the citation for the honorary degree, a Doctor of Humane Letters, which President DeGioia bestowed upon Shriver.
“Today, Georgetown honors Tim Shriver in recognition of his fierce advocacy for individuals with dif-abilities (Tim’s word), his restless desire to replace fear of difference with celebration of unity and his pursuit of a life animated by the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis,” Phillips said.
Shriver is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Co-Chairman of the National Commission on Social and Emotional Learning and President of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, among other responsibilities.
The Georgetown College Class of 2022 celebrated 859 total graduates, with 679 earning a Bachelor of Arts degree and 180 earning a Bachelor of Science degree.
-by Hayden Frye (C’17)