La Salle University awarded an honorary doctoral degree to Timothy Shriver, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics, at its Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 15, 2011.
“Tim Shriver, as Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics, is not only leading America in respect and acceptance of individuals with intellectual abilities, but also the world,” said Carole Patrylo, Ed.D, assistant professor of education at La Salle and sponsor for Shriver’s honorary degree. “His vigorous outreaching has created numerous programs that focus on the strengths of the special needs populations. His passion is social and emotional learning and how we as a society can change attitudes to create an environment that embraces inclusion.”
Under Shriver’s leadership, Special Olympics, which was founded by his mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver, has evolved into a worldwide movement that focuses on acceptance, inclusion, and respect for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The organization serves more than 3 million Special Olympics athletes in nearly 180 countries.
Since taking the helm at Special Olympics in 1996, Shriver has launched the organization’s most ambitious growth agenda, leading to the recruitment of more than two million new athletes around the world. He worked with leaders of China to launch a thriving program and supported efforts to bring the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games to Shanghai. He also began programs in developing or war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Bosnia Herzegovina, and Iraq.
Before joining Special Olympics, Shriver was a leading educator focusing on the social and emotional factors in learning, and he has remained active in several educational initiatives. He has worked in substance abuse prevention, violence, dropout prevention, and teen pregnancy prevention. The New Haven Public Schools’ Social Development Project, which he created, is considered the leading school-based prevention effort in the United States. He also co-founded and is Chair of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, the leading research organization in the country in the field of social and emotional learning.
Shriver is the third member of his distinguished family to receive an honorary degree from La Salle University. In 1970, his father, Sargent Shriver was awarded an honorary doctoral degree, and his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, then a junior Massachusetts senator, received one in 1958.