Craig Kennedy

Craig Kennedy, AB '74, AM '80, MBA '80

President, The German Marshall Fund of the United States

“My SSA education gave me experiences and lessons that turned out to be crucial in the work I have pursued, both nationally and internationally,” recalls Craig Kennedy, president of The German Marshall Fund (GMF) of the United States.

The GMF is an independent American organization sponsoring a variety of programs related to foreign, economic, immigration, and environmental policy, and fostering political exchanges between the U.S. and Europe.

“From my professors, I learned to sort out the facts, and highlight the real issues in a rigorous way that has been essential to the development and success of my work.”

Mr. Kennedy’s relationship to the University of Chicago dates back to his undergraduate career. He earned his A.B. in 1974, followed by joint degrees in 1980: an A.M. in Social Service Administration, and an M.B.A. “At SSA, I was lucky to work for Peggy Rosenheim, (Margaret K. Rosenheim, J.D.) and she taught me all about the ups and downs of leadership, and the ins and outs of large institutions. I worked with her on a wonderful research project called Unconventional Helpers that stressed how people other than social workers can, and do, help others in a variety of situations, and have an impact on their lives.”

Mr. Kennedy’s career began in 1980 as a program officer for the Joyce Foundation in Chicago. He rose to vice president in 1983, and then became president from 1986 to 1992. “During these years I was grateful for the lessons I learned at SSA, especially with regard to organizational and political strategies from two other favorite professors, Bill Pollak (William Pollak, Ph.D.) and Bill Cannon (William Cannon, Ph.D.). Always listening and keeping a fresh perspective is important.”

Between 1992 and 1995, Mr. Kennedy formed a consulting firm, through which he worked with both nonprofit and public sector clients. His interest in the international field started while he made several trips to Europe with the Joyce Foundation. When the GMF called in 1995, he was ready for an international challenge. “The years with the GMF have afforded me the opportunity to expand and strengthen our mission, help define a changing Europe in a changing world, and work with our many partners both here and abroad. SSA and the University of Chicago prepared me well, and for that, I am grateful.”