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Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will give presentation at UIS

March 3, 2004

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, in Sangamon Auditorium.  His presentation, titled “Our Environmental Destiny,” is free and open to the public.  The presentation will be webcast live on the UIS website and will be replayed on Springfield Cable Access Channel 4 at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, and again at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 13.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is the third of 11 children of the late Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel Kennedy. Robert Jr.’s father announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on March 18, 1968, and was slain only months later, on June 5, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles shortly after claiming victory in that state’s crucial Democratic primary. He was 42 years old. Robert Jr. was 14 at the time and his youngest sibling, Rory Elizabeth, was born six months after their father’s death. 

Like his father, Robert Jr. graduated from Harvard University and earned his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School.

SPRINGFIELD - Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will speak at the University of Illinois at Springfield at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, on the topic “Our Environmental Destiny.”  His appearance in Sangamon Auditorium is free and open to the public.  No reservations are required.

Kennedy has built a strong reputation as a resolute defender of the environment.  His successful legal actions include prosecuting governments and companies for polluting the Hudson River and Long Island sound, winning settlements for the Hudson Riverkeeper, arguing cases to expand citizen access to the shoreline, and suing sewage treatment plants to force compliance with the Clean Water Act.

More than eco-warrior, Kennedy is also a social-defender.  During the summer of 2001, he sat in a Puerto Rican prison on trespassing charges as his youngest son, Aidan Caohman Vieques Kennedy, was born.  Sentenced to 30 days for his civil disobedience, Kennedy was in Vieques protesting the U.S. Naval bombing exercises that take place there every year.

Kennedy serves as chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, all while serving as the president of the Waterkeeper Alliance.  He is also a clinical professor and supervising attorney at the Environmental Litigation Clinic at Pace University School of Law in New York.

Earlier in his career he served as assistant district attorney in New York City.  He has worked on several political campaigns including Edward M. Kennedy’s 1980 presidential campaign, and Al Gore’s in 2000.

He has worked on environmental issues across the Americas and has assisted several indigenous tribes in Latin America and Canada in successfully negotiating treaties protecting traditional homelands.  He is credited with leading the fight to protect New York City’s water supply.  The New York City watershed agreement, which he negotiated on behalf of environmentalists and New York City watershed consumers, is regarded as an international model in stakeholder consensus negotiations and sustainable development.

Among Kennedy’s published books are Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr., A Biography (1977), and his latest book, The Riverkeepers (1997), co-written with Hudson Riverkeeper John Cronin.

His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Pace Environmental Law Review, and other publications.

Kennedy is a graduate of Harvard University.  He studied at the London School of Economics and received his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School. Following graduation, he attended Pace University School of Law, where he was awarded a master’s degree in environmental law.

He is a licensed master falconer and pursues a life-long enthusiasm for white water paddling.  He has organized and led several expeditions in Latin America, including first descents on three little-known rivers in Peru, Columbia, and Venezuela.

Kennedy’s appearance at UIS is sponsored by the Office of Student Life in conjunction with the Center for State Policy and Leadership at UIS, Center for Teaching and Learning at UIS, College of Education and Human Services, College of Public Affairs and Administration, Credit for Prior Learning Program, Criminal Justice Department, Department of Environmental Studies, Department of Legal Studies, Department of Public Administration, Economics Department, Human Services Program, and International Studies Department.

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 40 degree programs – 20 bachelor’s, 19 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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