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Our History: Featured Alumni/ae: Kennedy, Edward M. (Ted), 1959

Over the decades our graduates have developed distinguished careers as justices, members of Congress, ambassadors, educators, business people, and community leaders in many fields. This site features some of those late graduates.

Arthur J. Morris Law Library

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Edward Moore (Ted) Kennedy

U.S. Senator from Massachusetts

Edward Moore (Ted) Kennedy was born in 1932. He graduated from Milton Academy in 1950 and from Harvard College in 1956. Kennedy served in the United States Army from 1951 to 1953. He followed in his brother Robert F. Kennedy’s footsteps to attend law school at the University of Virginia. Even in law school he played a prominent role in the nation’s politics; during his second year he managed his brother John’s successful Senate re-election campaign in Massachusetts. Kennedy was also a member of the Student Advisory Council and Phi Alpha Delta. In his final year at Virginia, he served as president of the Student Legal Forum, which invites prominent public figures to speak at the Law School. Kennedy’s law school career culminated in winning the William Minor Lile Moot Court Competition, a mock trial competition that begins in law students’ first year and ends before a panel of judges in their third and final year. Kennedy’s partner in the competition was his roommate, future Sen. John Tunney of California. "And of course, Teddy just loved the fact that he had won and Bobby had not," Tunney once jokingly told a Boston Globe reporter.

Kennedy attended the International Law School in The Hague, Holland, in 1958, and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1959. He was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1959 and was appointed assistant district attorney in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, in 1961. In 1962, he was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in a special election to fill the vacancy caused by the 1960 resignation of his brother, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, for the term ending January 3, 1965.

Kennedy was reelected eight times, serving in the Senate until his death. More than 300 bills that Kennedy wrote have been enacted into law, and he played a major role in passing many pieces of legislation, including those focusing on immigration, expanding health care and the rights of the disabled, and education reform. He ran for president in 1980, but lost the Democratic nomination to President Jimmy Carter. Kennedy returned to the Law School to speak several times over the years, most recently in 2006 when he delivered the keynote address at the annual Conference on Public Service and the Law. Ted Kennedy died in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, on August 25, 2009 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. At the time of his death, he was the third longest-serving Senator of all time. Dean Paul G. Mahoney noted, “Senator Kennedy was one of the most prolific and effective legislators in our nation’s history. He was able to work with colleagues of different views and had a passionate desire to use the legislative process for the benefit of the least privileged. The Law School mourns the loss of an exceptional graduate.”


True Compass: A Memoir (2009)

America Back on Track

My Senator and Me: A Dog's Eye View of Washington, D.C. (2006)

In Critical Condition: The Crisis in America's Health Care (1972)

The Eulogy to United States Senator Robert F. Kennedy (1968)

Decisions for a Decade: Policies and Programs for the 1970s (1968)


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