Mark K. Shriver, a leader in social justice and the son of parents who devoted themselves to public-service work, will give the 95th annual commencement address at Eastern Mennonite University on Sunday, April 28, at 1 p.m.
Shriver is senior vice president for strategic initiatives and senior advisor to the chief executive officer of Save the Children U.S. Programs, which works to ensure a fair start for all kids in the United States, including the one-in-five living in poverty. From 1995 to 2003, Shriver served as a two-term member of the Maryland House of Delegates. He started the Choice Program, serving delinquent and at-risk youth, and served on the coalition to create the National Commission on Children and Disasters following Hurricane Katrina.
The Shriver-Kennedy Family Tree
Recently Shriver wrote A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver, a book published in June 2012. It is a tribute to the wide-spread influence and salutory work of his father, who was affected by Alzheimer’s for 10 years before his death at age 95.
In the book Shriver focused on the three guiding principles of his father’s life – faith, hope, and love – and how these were lived out in his marriage of 54 years, his parenting of five children who adored him, and his wide-ranging service work. Sargeant Shriver was a devout Roman Catholic, who attended mass on a daily basis.
“Peace, to Dad, meant more than just the absence of war – it meant hard work to sustain peace among nations, and it also meant hard work to sustain peace in ourselves, in our families, in our communities, and in our country,” wrote Shriver.
Shriver’s mother, Eunice (Kennedy) Shriver, is the sister of former President John F. Kennedy and the late Senators Edward “Ted” Kennedy and Robert “Bobby” Kennedy. She started “Camp Shriver” in 1962, which became the Special Olympics in 1968.
Shriver’s father served as George McGovern’s Vice Presidential candidate in the 1972 presidential election. Sargent Shriver was the United States Ambassador to France and helped create the Peace Corps. He was also known as the architect of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “war on poverty.”
Mark Shriver is the fourth of five children. His siblings include: Robert Sargent Shriver III, an attorney and former mayor of Santa Monica, California; Maria Shriver, an author, journalist and former First Lady of California; Timothy Shriver, an educator and chair of the Special Olympics; and Anthony Shriver, an activist and founder of Best Buddies International, a nonprofit organization.
Mark Shriver’s Focus on Children
In the Maryland House of Delegates, Shriver was the first chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Youth and Families and was appointed chair of the Children and Youth Subcommittee of Maryland’s House Ways and Means Committee.
Shriver created The Choice Jobs Program, Inc., a private non-profit that trains, places and supports former Choice Program clients in jobs, as well as The Choice Middle Schools Program, a model for keeping at-risk middle school children in school.
Shriver received his BA from The College of the Holy Cross in 1986 and a master’s in public administration from Harvard University in 1993.
Shriver resides in Bethesda, Md., with his wife Jeanne and their three young children, Molly, Tommy and Emma.