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Victoria Reggie Kennedy (L '79) to address Tulane Law Class of 2015

April 27, 2015

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Among her many activities, Victoria Reggie Kennedy (L ’79) (speaking) is president of the board of the new Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were among dignitaries attending the institute’s March 30 dedication.

Photo by Tom Fitzsimmons, Courtesy of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Victoria Reggie Kennedy has been a Washington lawyer, a mother and partner in a power couple.

Now, she’s working to inspire new generations to understand and participate in the democratic process, most visibly as president of the board of the new Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, a learning center dedicated to her late husband’s ideals. 

A member of two prominent political families, Vicki Kennedy also is a devoted Tulanian. The 1979 Tulane Law graduate returns to her alma mater May 16 as featured speaker at the law school’s Diploma Ceremony.

The event is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse, with a reception to follow at Weinmann Hall. Tulane University’s Unified Commencement is at 9 a.m. at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. 

Long before she married Sen. Kennedy, who died in 2009, Vicki Kennedy had built a reputation as an accomplished attorney, corporate strategist and consultant as well as a passionate advocate on issues that affect families, especially women and children. 

She started her legal career representing banks and lenders, then she used her legal training to focus on high-level policy and strategy development. She spent more than a decade advocating for gun safety to protect children from violence. She fought for, and in 2010, stood next to President Barack Obama when he signed the Affordable Care Act into law. She runs her own company, VR Kennedy Strategies, where she helps clients resolve complex business problems. And she spearheaded the design and planning of the Kennedy Institute, which opened in March and uses innovative and interactive, high-tech programming to give visitors a hands-on experience of what it means to be a U.S. Senator.  

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Victoria Reggie Kennedy (L ’79) speaks with U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona at the opening of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, whose design and planning she spearheaded.

Photo by Tom Fitzsimmons, Courtesy of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

"Vicki Kennedy's accomplishments as a lawyer and leader, combined with her abiding commitment to public service and making a difference, capture the Tulane ethos and make her the perfect choice to address the Class of 2015," Dean David Meyer said.

A daughter of the late, legendary Crowley City Judge Edmund Reggie and his wife, Doris, Vicki Kennedy graduated summa cum laude from Tulane Law, ranking second in her class and serving as notes editor for the Tulane Law Review. She graduated magna cum laude from Tulane’s Newcomb College in 1976. Kennedy clerked for Judge Robert A. Sprecher on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, was a partner at Keck, Mahin and Cate in Washington, D.C., and spent two years at Greenberg Traurig.

She married Sen. Kennedy in 1992. The Reggies were longtime friends of the Kennedy clan: Judge Reggie had directed John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign in Louisiana and later bids by Robert and Edward M. Kennedy. 

The Reggies’ six children attended Tulane, and three graduated from Tulane Law. In 2014, the Reggie family established the Judge Edmund M. Reggie Scholarship Endowed Fund to support law students.

Vicki Kennedy has turned away suggestions that she might consider running for elected office. But she advocates for government to be more functional and civil.

In 1994, she established a Massachusetts Women’s Council, which served as a national model for engaging women in election campaigns. And she is in demand as a public speaker on topics including health care reform, patient advocacy, involvement in the political process and empowerment of women and girls. 

She is a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform, which was launched in 2013 to improve the political process in an age of polarization. She also mentors students at the University of Massachusetts Boston; chairs the Education Committee for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts board; sits on the advisory board of global investment firm Houlihan Lokey; and is a board member for the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, which advises Catholic parishes, church organizations and religious orders on best management practices.

Note: This item was amended Oct. 6, 2016, to reflect the full name of the event location.


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