Special Olympics Mourns the Loss of Sargent Shriver

Washington, D.C. (January 18, 2011) – Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr. died this afternoon at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, MD, surrounded by his family.  He was 95 years old.  Near him at the time of his death were his five children: Robert “Bobby” Sargent Shriver III, Maria Owings Shriver, Timothy Perry Shriver, Mark Kennedy Shriver and Anthony Paul Kennedy Shriver, as well as their spouses and all of his 19 grandchildren.

Husband of 56 years to the late founder of Special Olympics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Sargent Shriver was Chairman of the Board Emeritus for Special Olympics and served as president of the Special Olympics Movement from 1984 through 1996 before his son, Timothy P. Shriver took the helm as current Chairman and CEO. Sargent Shriver also served Special Olympics as Chairman of the Board of Directors from 1990 to 2003. As an international lawyer and administrator, ambassador and an advocate for the poor and powerless, Sargent Shriver compiled an unparalleled record of public service at every tier, from the local level to the world community.

“Sargent Shriver was a pioneer for our movement, helping us establish and build programs in the far corners of the globe,” said Special Olympics President and COO Brady Lum. “Today we celebrate the life of a man who saw the athletes of Special Olympics as ambassadors for peace. We honor a man who was able to transform the roots of violence and discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities by promoting Special Olympics throughout the world and we will continue his legacy by providing opportunities for people and communities to unite in harmony through sport.”

Shriver’s greatest legacy to the Special Olympics organization was the establishment of the Sargent Shriver International Global Messengers.  These Special Olympics athletes serve four-year terms as spokespeople for the global Special Olympics Movement. This current class of Sargent Shriver International Global Messengers will continue Shriver’s commitment to promoting a spirit of peace and unity across the world.

Sargent Shriver was born November 9, 1915 in Westminster, Maryland. He attended Yale University in 1934 and during college, Shriver was the senior editor of the Yale Daily News. Shriver enrolled in Yale Law School in 1938, receiving his L.L.B. in 1941 and went on to serve five years in active duty in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

In 1953, Shriver married Eunice Kennedy, sister of John F. Kennedy. Shriver’s commitment to public service made him one of the most effective leaders of John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society in the 1960s. He inspired, directed, or founded numerous social programs and organizations, including Head Start, VISTA, Job Corps, Community Action, Upward Bound, Foster Grandparents, Special Olympics, the National Center on Poverty Law, Legal Services, and the Peace Corps, serving as the program’s first director under President Kennedy. Shriver also ran the War on Poverty during Johnson’s tenure as president. Shriver also served as U.S. ambassador to France from 1968 to 1970.

In 1972, Shriver was nominated by the Democratic Party as a candidate for Vice President with presidential candidate Senator George McGovern in the campaign against President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew. In 197 8, Shriver began the Kennedy Institute of Ethics “Trialogue” between leaders of Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions, the first such forum for discussion since medieval Spain.
Shriver is survived by his five children; and his 19 grandchildren who range in age from one to twenty-four years.

Out of respect for the privacy of the family, no interviews are being granted at this time.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Sargent Shriver Peace Institutewww.sargentshriver.org. Condolence cards may be sent to Special Olympics headquarters: 1133 19th Street NW, Washington DC, 20036. Please visit www.sargentshriver.org to share a tribute online.

Funeral details and other memorial information will be posted at www.sargentshriver.org as they become available.

About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to nearly 3.5 million athletes in 226 Programs in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs.  Special Olympics now takes place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in places like China and from regions like the Middle East to the community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood.  Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org.

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CONTACT:
Mandy Murphy
Special Olympics
+1-202-824-0227
mamurphy@speciaolympics.org

Biography

Peacebuilder and Public Servant

In a career of public service and civic leadership spanning the second half of the 20th century, Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr.confronted a range of seemingly intractable conflicts that pitted Americans against each other, and the United States against the Soviet Union. He helped build peace by developing and implementing programs and policies structured to promote long-term, cumulative, peaceable change.

The key to Shriver’s legacy of success as a peacebuilder lies in his ability to create feasible, effective programs that promote human dignity and welfare. All the programs he created are informed by a method in peacebuilding he once described as “a formula for practical idealism.”

As the head of the Chicago School Board and the Catholic Interracial Council in the late 1950s, Shriver addressed America’s racial conflict by leading successful efforts to integrate Chicago’s public and parochial school systems. As a senior official in the Kennedy Administration, Shriver created the Peace Corps in response to the global conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union in the Cold War. The Peace Corps is a program that builds peace and friendship by sending Americans to work for human dignity and human welfare in the third world.

As Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity in the Johnson Administration in the mid-1960s, Shriver developed a multi-faceted War on Poverty designed to transform the economic and social roots of the conflict over civil rights in America. Like the Peace Corps, the programs of the War on Poverty – including Head Start, Job Corps, VISTA, Community Action Program, Legal Services to the Poor, and Foster Grandparents – continue to serve Americans today.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Shriver addressed the inter-religious tensions at the heart of the conflict in the Middle East by convening, for over five years, the first official Trialog of the Abrahamic faiths since the Moors ruled medieval Spain. He also addressed domestic and global tensions over America’s escalating nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union by securing affirmation of a No First Strike policy by senior U.S. foreign policy officials and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In the 1980s and 1990s, as Chairman of the Board of Special Olympics International, Sargent Shriver joined with his wife and son, Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Timothy Perry Shriver, to transform the roots of violence and discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities by promoting Special Olympics Games throughout the world.

About Sargent Shriver

Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr. was born November 9, 1915 in Westminster, Maryland. Shriver attended Yale University in 1934. During college, Shriver was the senior editor of the Yale Daily News. Shriver enrolled in Yale Law School in 1938, receiving his L.L.B. in 1941. Shriver went on to serve five years in active duty in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

In 1953, Shriver married Eunice Kennedy, sister of John F. Kennedy. Shriver’s commitment to public service made him one of the most effective leaders of John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society in the 1960s. He inspired, directed, or founded numerous social programs and organizations, including Head Start, VISTA, Job Corps, Community Action, Upward Bound, Foster Grandparents, Special Olympics, the National Center on Poverty Law, Legal Services, and the Peace Corps, serving as the program’s first director under President Kennedy. Shriver also ran the War on Poverty during Johnson’s tenure as president. Shriver also served as U.S. ambassador to France from 1968 to 1970.

In 1972, Shriver was nominated by the Democratic Party as a candidate for Vice President with presidential candidate Senator George McGovern in the campaign against President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew. In 1978, Shriver began the Kennedy Institute of Ethics “Trialogue” between leaders of Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions, the first such forum for discussion since medieval Spain.

Shriver went on to become President of Special Olympics in 1984. He was appointed Chairman of the Board of Special Olympics in 1990. Under Shriver’s leadership, the Special Olympics greatly expanded its international sports programs for young people around the world.

On August 8, 1994, Sargent Shriver received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton, the United States’ highest civilian honor, as recognition for his lifetime of public service. His wife, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, died Aug. 11, 2009. They had five children: Robert Sargent Shriver III, Maria Shriver, Timothy Shriver, Mark Shriver, and Anthony Shriver.


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One Response to Special Olympics Mourns the Loss of Sargent Shriver

  1. George Arnold says:

    I just have to say that to say that I have so much disrespect for Sargent Shriver, because of the fact that he had no respect for the purity of sports! Now I will say that the Honest Effort rule in the Special Olympics is something that I do understand, because I do believe that there people who took part that were trying to get into lower competition levels so that it was easier to win! Now my idea of the Honest Effort is to make every effort that there is, and that does exist to the human race to intentionally get disqualified, because of all these fixed events that do exist in Special Olympics swimming, and that will prove that someone just as soon made an Honest Effort to intentionally not win, which is what just may be the real objective with these bogus medals that someone would win in the Special Olympics! Now I must say that there is absolutely no reason for someone to want to even make attempt to win in Special Olympics swimming! There is absolutely no question about this, and that is someone has to make good on their promise to intentionally get disqualified in the Special Olympics, because of the fact that it just has to be harder than doing anything at all to win in the Special Olympics for all of the crap that does go on in the program, which is the reason that tanking the events that do exist in the Special Olympics swimming is not wrong at all! Make no mistake about this, and that is I am not about trying to get into an easier level of competition, because the truth is that I am talking about doing everything possible to never win at all in Special Olympics swimming as a means of getting revenge on the people promote this!

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