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Eunice Mary Kennedy Shriver

Shriver, Eunice Mary Kennedy, 1921–2009, American philanthropist and advocate for the intellectually disabled, b. Brookline, Mass., grad. Stanford (1943); she was a daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy and a sister of President John F. Kennedy and Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy and married (1953) Sargent Shriver. In 1957 she became an officer of a Kennedy foundation focusing on the prevention and treatment of retardation, and thereafter devoted much of her life to improving the status of the mentally challenged. In 1963 she established a day camp for retarded children at her Maryland home, and soon helped create similar facilities throughout the United States and Canada. From these grew her greatest accomplishment, the founding (1968) of the Special Olympics, which has provided opportunities for the developmentally challenged to benefit from active involvement in sports and competition. There are now Special Olympics groups in some 180 countries, and World Special Olympics Games are held every two years.

See study by E. Shorter (2000).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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