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NACUA's Distinguished Service Award

Mary E. Kennard - 2014

Mary E. Kennard is Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of the Board of Trustees for American University. She has over 30 years of experience in university administration and legal affairs. Mary has served as a senior administrator at both public and private colleges and universities. In addition, Mary has served as the chief development officer for both the University of Rhode Island and American University, planning and kicking off two successful capital campaigns. She has taught at the University of Pittsburgh - College of General Studies, University of Rhode Island - College of Business Administration, and the Washington College of Law at American University. She received her undergraduate degree from Boston University, and her Juris Doctorate from Temple University. She then received a Master of Laws in international and comparative law from The George Washington University National Law Center. She is a 2014 candidate for a Doctor of Juridical Science from the Washington College of Law at American University.

A NACUA member since 1980, Mary served as the Association's Chair of its Board of Directors in 2008-2009. Her NACUA record of service is extensive and exemplary, as she has served on virtually every NACUA committee and has spoken on numerous occasions at various NACUA meetings. Her NACUA tenure includes a two-year term as the Assistant Director of NACUA from 1982-1984.

In October 2010, Mary was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Association of Corporate Counsel. She was the 2007 President of the Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association. In 2011, Mary received the In-House Counsel Award from the Legal Times and the North Star Award from the Washington College of Law for mentorship in the legal profession. In 2009, she was honored by Boston University with its Alumni Distinguished Service Award. In May 2008, Mary received the Lawyer of the Year Award from the Women's Bar Association of Washington D.C. In September 2007, she was recognized as a "Top Washington Lawyer" by the Washington Business Journal. In May 2013, Mary received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Rhode Island in recognition of her commitment to diversity in U.S. higher education – she was the first African American Vice President of the University of Rhode Island, and the first African American to serve as legal counsel for an entire state system of higher education in the United States.

In addition to her substantial record of volunteer service to NACUA and to the legal profession, her NACUA colleagues note that Mary throws herself with gusto into virtually every aspect of volunteerism. Sprinkled into her sense of service is a healthy dose of good humor and good cheer, and one of NACUA's best conversationalists – whether it be about her family, her next professional pursuits (see above), learning about her ancestor's service in the Civil War, or watching her get on a horse for the first time in 20 years.

NACUA is pleased to recognize Mary E. Kennard as a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award for her outstanding and exemplary service to the Association.