News & Events
Posted May 18, 2014

After 55 Years, U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy's Diploma Given to Family at UVA Law Graduation

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U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy accepted the law diploma of his great-uncle Sen. Ted Kennedy '59 during graduation on Sunday.

More than half a century after U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy '59 graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law, his law diploma was posthumously delivered to his family on Sunday. The late senator's grand-nephew, U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, received the certificate while serving as the commencement speaker. (More)

The path of the diploma began 55 years ago — when the future senator skipped his graduation ceremony in order to prepare to campaign for his brother, future President John F. Kennedy.  After that, the diploma was held by the UVA registrar and recently was sent to the University President's Office to be returned to the family.

When the UVA Law Student Bar Association invited Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy '51, to speak at commencement, an ideal opportunity to return the diploma arose.

Sen. Kennedy's diploma

Sen. Ted Kennedy left his diploma behind when he left after law school
to begin preparing for his brother John F. Kennedy's presidential
campaign.

“I was pleased that we could personalize the delivery of the diploma rather than just dropping it in the mail — which of course we should have done 55 years ago,” Mahoney said.

Reported by Eric Williamson