In Memory: John Kennedy

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Dominican University of California President Mary Marcy has shared the sad news that John Kennedy, former Vice President for Student Life, has passed. Here is the letter President Marcy sent to the Dominican community.

It is with deep sadness that I write to share the news that our beloved John Kennedy died yesterday after a long illness. John was a man who embraced the Dominican values, embodied the word community, and was a dear friend to many of us.

In his almost 30-year career as the head of Student Life at Dominican, John served as a wise mentor to thousands of students, and a generous colleague and friend. John had the remarkable ability to combine a clear, strong sense of purpose with a gentle approach and a delightful sense of humor. He was among the first to welcome our families on move-in day, and one of the last to bid farewell to our graduates—usually with a big hug—at commencement.  

Famous for singing "I Will Survive" at every holiday party (and memorably, together with the entire tent at his final commencement), for his love of sweets and commitment to Ice Cream Fridays, and for his deep compassion, John leaves a lasting legacy at Dominican through the lives that he touched and the culture he nourished.

A Memorial Mass is being planned in July at John's church in San Francisco. This fall we will gather here on campus—in our Dominican community, which John loved, nurtured, and forever changed for the better—to celebrate his life. We will share more information as plans are developed.

Today, as we approach the end of the academic year and the commencement ceremony he so dearly loved, please join me in remembering John by recalling his presence, reflecting on his life, and honoring his legacy. I know this community shares my sense of loss, along with a deep appreciation for this wonderful man and the ways in which he touched all of our lives.

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