About the Institute
The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is dedicated to educating the public about the important role of the Senate in our government, encouraging participatory democracy, invigorating civil discourse, and inspiring the next generation of citizens and leaders to engage in the civic life of their communities.
The Institute’s Board of Directors
James J. Karam
Chair of the Board
James Karam is president and founder of First Bristol Corporation and provides the leadership and direction of this 38-year-old New England Real Estate Development and Management Company. Founded in 1975, First Bristol’s focus has been the development of major retail shopping centers, first-class office buildings, and hotels throughout Southern New England. Mr. Karam’s commitment to excellence is evidenced by the broad scope of the company’s varied developments and his recognition for being in the forefront of this ever-changing industry. He also is co-owner of WSAR and WHTB radio stations, serving the Massachusetts Southcoast region. Mr. Karam’s current and past professional and civic affiliations are extensive, including as former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the largest New England community health care system, Caritas Christi Health Care System, 10 years as a Trustee and former Chair of the Board for the University of Massachusetts five (5) campus system, and currently as a Board member of the Boston-based Steward Health Care System.
Victoria Reggie Kennedy
Co-Founder and President of the Board
Victoria Reggie Kennedy is a senior counsel in the corporate and securities practice group of the international law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP. She advises clients on governmental and regulatory issues and assists them in devising strategies for the resolution of complex business problems.
Victoria Kennedy is a Trustee (Presidential Appointment) of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and on the Board of Directors of the National Leadership Roundtable. Additionally, she is a member of the Commission on Political Reform at the Bi-Partisan Policy Center. She has been a leading voice on the empowerment of women and girls in our society, and is an advocate for expanding medical research and access to health care for all Americans.
Andrew Card Jr.
Chairman, National Endowment for Democracy
Andrew H. Card, Jr. is Chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Card has also held numerous senior government positions under three Presidents, including Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush, Deputy Chief of Staff to President George H.W. Bush, and U.S. Secretary of Transportation. He also served in President Ronald Reagan’s Administration.
Card was President of Franklin Pierce University (2015 - 2016), served as Executive Director of the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Texas A&M (2013 - 2014), and was Acting Dean of The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. Card serves on the Board of Directors of Union Pacific, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, the Board of Directors of Draganfly, the Business Advisory Board of BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics, Energy Security Partners, and Go Electric. He and his wife, The Reverend Kathleene Card, are from Holbrook, MA, have three children and six grandchildren.
President of Weber Shandwick Public Affairs
Ranny Cooper is President of Weber Shandwick’s public affairs practice and oversees the firm’s research and advocacy advertising divisions. Prior to joining Weber Shandwick, she served as Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s Chief of Staff with responsibility for the Senator’s legislative and political activities. A frequent speaker on political issues, Ranny is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Partnership for Women & Families, EMILY’s List, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. She also serves as a member of the Board of Overseers of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and was honored with the prestigious Women in Communications Matrix Award in 2000.
The Honorable William “Mo” Cowan
President, Global Government Affairs and Policy at GE
Mo Cowan was recently appointed president of global government affairs and policy for General Electric Company, after serving as vice president of litigation and legal policy at GE since April 2017. Before joining GE, he held several leadership roles with ML Strategies in their Boston and D.C. office. Mo served as chief legal counsel, chief of staff, and senior advisor to Governor Deval Patrick, and on January 30, 2013, Governor Patrick appointed Mo to serve as interim United States Senator upon the resignation of John F. Kerry. Mo concluded his Senate service in July 2013. A graduate of Duke University and Northeastern University School of Law, Mo also holds honorary degrees from Georgetown University and Newbury College.
Partner & Cofounder, Precision Strategies
Stephanie Cutter is a co-founder and partner at Precision, an integrated strategy and marketing agency that serves political, nonprofit, and corporate clientele. At Precision, Stephanie has revolutionized the integration of data-driven communications with digital and campaign style organizing to improve reputations, manage crises, and drive people to action. Called “one of the most prominent voices in the [Democratic] party, and one of its top strategists and crisis managers” by Politico, Stephanie has crafted high-level communications, reputation and crisis- management strategies for two U.S. Presidents, U.S. Senate leaders, and the nation’s highest profile political campaigns and Fortune 500 corporations. After helping to elect President Obama in 2008 and serving in the White House as a senior adviser, Stephanie was President Obama’s 2012 deputy campaign manager in charge of communications, media, policy, and research as well as being a member of the senior strategy team. Prior to working with President Obama, Stephanie served as a senior aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Senator John Kerry, and President Bill Clinton. She is also currently a contributor at ABC News.
The Honorable Thomas A. Daschle
Former Democratic Leader of the U.S. Senate
An Air Force veteran and four-term Congressman from South Dakota, Tom Daschle won election to the Senate in 1986 and was elected Democratic Leader by his colleagues in 1996. Daschle held that leadership position for eight years, becoming the first Democrat to serve as both Majority Leader and Minority leader on two separate occasions. Currently, Senator Daschle serves as CEO for the Daschle Group, which he founded. He also serves on the boards of the Center for American Progress and National Democratic Institute. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Health Policy and Management Council at the Harvard School of Public Health. In 2007 he joined former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Robert J. Dole, and George J. Mitchell to found the Bipartisan Policy Center.
The Honorable Chris Dodd
Senior Counsel, Arnold & Porter
Former United States Senator Chris Dodd represented Connecticut in the United States Congress for 36 years – six years in the House of Representatives and thirty years in the Senate. A widely respected legislator with a reputation for reaching across party lines, Senator Dodd is best known as an author or co-author of several pieces of landmark legislation, including the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Help America Vote Act, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. He served as a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is a recognized expert on Latin America. Senator Dodd is currently Senior Counsel at the law firm Arnold & Porter, after serving seven years as Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association.
The Honorable Linda Dorcena Forry
Vice President, Suffolk Construction
Linda Dorcena Forry is the Vice President Northeast Region, for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations at Suffolk Construction. Linda is a former Massachusetts State Senator and State Representative. She served 13 years in elected office and worked over two decades in the public sector in various capacities in both state and local government. Linda is a graduate of Boston College Carroll School of Management, and also holds a Masters in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She lives in Dorchester with Bill Forry, her husband, and four children.
Chief Speechwriter for President Barack Obama
Cody Keenan has been a speechwriter for President Barack Obama since 2007, rising from a campaign intern in Chicago to Director of Speechwriting at the White House. Through times of challenge and change, Cody has helped Obama craft remarks on every topic for every audience – from tiny backyards in Iowa to the biggest stadiums in the country; from a sermon in Selma to his farewell address. He discovered his passion for public service during his first job in Washington – as a young aide to Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Today, Cody continues to serve as Barack Obama’s post-presidential writing collaborator, as a senior advisor at Fenway Strategies, and as a professor at his alma mater, Northwestern University. He is also a graduate of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
The Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy
Former US Representative, Rhode Island; Founder, The Kennedy Forum; Co-Founder, One Mind
Patrick J. Kennedy was the lead sponsor of the landmark Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which requires insurers to cover treatment for mental health and addiction no more restrictively than treatment for illnesses of the body, such as diabetes and cancer. In 2013, he founded The Kennedy Forum, a nonprofit that advances evidence-based policies and programming around mental health and addiction by uniting advocates, policymakers, and business leaders. In 2015, Kennedy co-authored the New York Times bestseller, “A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction,” which details a bold plan for the future of mental health care. In 2017, he was appointed to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
Kennedy is also the co-founder of One Mind, which pushes for greater investment in brain research; co-chair of Mental Health for US, a nonpartisan initiative to elevate mental health and addiction in policy conversations during the 2020 election cycle; and founder of DontDenyMe.org, a campaign that educates consumers and providers about parity rights and connects them to essential resources.
President and Chief Operating Officer, MGM Springfield Resort
Michael Mathis is the President and Chief Operating Officer of MGM Springfield responsible for the implementation, development, and operation of the resort and entertainment destination. A 20-year veteran of the gaming industry, Mathis most recently served as Senior Vice President of Global Gaming Operations for MGM Resorts International. Mathis previously served as Vice President of Legal Affairs and Assistant General Counsel for Boyd Gaming Corporation, and prior to that held the position of Vice President & General Counsel for Echelon Resorts and Corporate Counsel for Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Mathis has a law degree from Georgetown University, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Dartmouth College. He has served as a member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors as well as the Past President of the Discovery Children’s Museum. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees at the Springfield Museums.
The Honorable Martin T. Meehan
President, University of Massachusetts
Martin T. Meehan is the 27th President of the University of Massachusetts, a 70,000-student University system comprised of the flagship campus in Amherst, along with campuses in Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and Worcester. Meehan is a former US congressman who represented Massachusetts’ 5th Congressional District. He is the first undergraduate alumnus to lead the system and was named to the presidency after eight successful years as chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Lowell where he propelled that institution forward to every important measure of higher education. During his tenure, UMass Lowell achieved record growth in enrollment, student retention and funding for research and scholarships.
Interim Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Boston
Dr. Newman is the Interim Chancellor at UMass Boston and is eager to work closely with the Institute to help develop and deepen partnerships. Prior to her appointment as interim chancellor, Katherine was the senior vice president for academic affairs for the University of Massachusetts system. She has previously served as provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and Torrey Little Professor of Sociology at UMass Amherst, and as the James B. Knapp Dean of the Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Katherine has also taught for 16 years at Columbia University and the School of Law at the University of California Berkeley.
Bruce A. Percelay
Chairman and Founder, The Mount Vernon Company
Bruce A. Percelay is chairman and founder of The Mount Vernon Company, a real estate investment firm considered among the leading apartment landlords in Massachusetts. The company received the Community Excellence Award from the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, the Paragon Award for Industry excellence by the National Apartment Association, Best Landlord in Boston by Boston Magazine and Best Places to Work in Boston by the Boston Business Journal. Percelay singlehandedly created the Allston Green District, an eleven-building assemblage that has been credited with revitalizing the entire neighborhood and has helped launch Allston’s apartment building renaissance.
Percelay was a driving force behind the construction of Nantucket’s new whaling museum and the new Nantucket Cottage Hospital. He is credited with raising $121 million for the Nantucket Cottage Hospital, the largest fundraiser for a community hospital ever in the United States. Percelay has served as the chairman of the Massachusetts chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and chairman of Habitat for Humanity in Boston. He has lectured on real estate at MIT, The Wharton School, Boston University, and Brandeis. Percelay sits on the President’s Council at MGH and The Rappaport Institute at the Kennedy School of Government.
Fred A. Seigel
President and Chief Operating Officer, Beacon Capital Partners
Fred Seigel is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Beacon Capital Partners, a Boston-based private real estate investment firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, DC, London, Luxembourg, and Paris. Prior to joining Beacon Capital, Mr. Seigel served as Managing Director of Latona Associates, a private merchant bank, and as Founder, President & Director of Energy Capital Partners, which specialized in financing energy projects across the United States. Mr. Seigel is a member of The Real Estate Roundtable and also serves on the Board of Directors for the Greenprint Foundation and the Citi Performing Arts Center.
Barbara A. Souliotis
Former State Director, Office of The Honorable Edward M. Kennedy
Barbara Souliotis is the only staff person to work for Senator Edward M. Kennedy for the entirety of his nearly 47-year Senate career. She first began working with Senator Kennedy while he served in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in the early 1960’s. For the last 23 years of Senator Kennedy’s Senate service, Barbara ran his Boston office as Senator Kennedy’s State Director, a role she would reprise for his successor, interim U.S. Senator Paul G. Kirk, Jr. Barbara currently serves on the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s New Frontier Award Committee, and was honored with the 2003 Congressman John Joseph Moakley Exemplary Public Service Award.
Henry M. Thomas III
President and Chief Executive Officer, Urban League of Springfield, Inc.
Henry M. Thomas III serves as President of the Urban League of Springfield, Inc. and has served in the Urban League movement for forty-eight years. Mr. Thomas also serves as CEO for the historic Camp Atwater, the oldest African American overnight youth camp in the United States, and is the co-founder of New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, Massachusetts. Mr. Thomas is past Vice President for Youth Development of the National Urban League in New York and former chair of the Springfield Fire Commission and Springfield Police Commission.
In 2007, former Governor Deval Patrick appointed Mr. Thomas to a five-year term on the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees and subsequently appointed him Chair of the Board from 2012 to 2015. He also served for seven years on the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. Mr. Thomas is now the Vice Chair of the Board of the UMass Building Authority, on the executive committee of the Hampden County Regional Employment Board, and chair of the audit committee for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.
Mr. Thomas has been recognized with several awards and honors including honorary degrees from Westfield State University and Bath Path University, Distinguished Service Awards from the University of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Legislative Black Caucus, and the President’s Medallion from one of his alma maters Western New England University.
Emeritus Board Members
John M. Connors Jr.
Founding Partner and Chairman Emeritus of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Inc.
John M. Connors is a founding partner and Chairman Emeritus of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Inc., a full-service marketing communications company. Under his leadership, Hill, Holliday evolved from a one-room shop in 1968 to one of the nation’s top 20 advertising firms, and counts some of the most well-known brands in the world – including Dunkin’ Donuts, Bank of America, CVS/Pharmacy and Liberty Mutual – among its clients. A Trustee of Boston College, Mr. Connors is known for his extensive involvement in Boston’s civic life and deep commitment to philanthropy, including his support of Camp Harbor View, The Campaign for Catholic Schools and dozens of other charitable organizations. He served for 16 years as Chairman of the Partners HealthCare System Board and currently serves on the Board of Fellows at Harvard Medical School.
A. Lee Fentress
Co-Founder of Octagon
Lee Fentress coordinated Senator Kennedy’s Oral History Project with the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. A Louisiana native who came to know Robert F. Kennedy while serving as an Assistant United States Attorney, Fentress served on the staff of RFK’s historic 1968 Presidential campaign. Following Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s death, Fentress and his law partners formed ProServ, which is often credited with pioneering the modern sports marketing and management industry and led to the creation of Octagon, a global leader in sports, music, and entertainment marketing that recently celebrated its 30th anniversary.
The Honorable Judd Gregg
Former United States Senator
Judd Gregg served as a United States Senator from 1993 to 2011. He was Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee and also Chairman and ranking member of the Help, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee. Gregg chaired or was the ranking member of the Appropriation’s subcommittees on Foreign Operations; Homeland Security; and Commerce, State and Justice. He was also a member of the Senate Banking Committee. Prior to his tenure in the Senate, Judd Gregg served as Governor of New Hampshire from 1989 to 1993 and as U.S. Representative from 1981 to 1989. Senator Gregg was appointed as Dartmouth College’s first Distinguished Fellow and where he lectures on national governance and history issues. Gregg serves as a director of Honeywell Corporation.
The Honorable Trent Lott
Former Republican Leader of the U.S. Senate
Senator Trent Lott represented the people of Mississippi in Congress for 35 years and is one of the very few elected officials in our nation’s history to have held elected leadership posts in both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate. Lott served as the House Minority Whip, the 2nd ranking Republican in the House, from 1981 to 1989 and as Senate Majority Leader from 1996 to 2002. He was also elected by his colleagues to serve as Senate Republican Whip in 2006, and is the only person to have held that position in both the House and Senate. Senator Lott currently serves as Senior Counsel at Patton Boggs LLP. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center and the author of Herding Cats: A Life in Politics.
Ralph C. Martin II
Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Northeastern University
A highly accomplished trial attorney and civic leader with more than 30 years of private and public sector experience, Ralph Martin currently serves as a Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Northeastern University. Martin made history while serving as the first African American District Attorney in Suffolk County, where his prosecutorial work won acclaim from former President Bill Clinton and former Attorney General Janet Reno. He is the previous chair of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on a number of boards, including the Board of Directors of Boston Children’s Hospital and BlueCross and BlueShield of Massachusetts.
Interim Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Boston
Barry Mills has served as interim chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston since July 1, 2017. He previously was president of Bowdoin College, from 2001-2015, and was deputy presiding partner of Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City, one of the nation’s preeminent international law firms. He joined the firm in 1979 and became a partner in 1986. His work at Debevoise concentrated on corporate law, real estate, and corporate finance.
Dr. J. Keith Motley
Chancellor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Boston
J. Keith Motley served as the 8th Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston, an institution with nearly 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students, a faculty of more than 1,000, and a $323 million annual budget. With more than 20 years of experience in higher education administration, Dr. Motley is also a founder of the Roxbury Preparatory Charter School, Concerned Black Men of Massachusetts, and the Paul Robeson Institute for Positive Self-Development. Dr. Motley serves on numerous boards of community organizations with local, regional, and national reach, and he holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northeastern University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Boston College.
The Honorable Louis B. Susman
Former United States Ambassador to the Court of St. James's
Louis B. Susman was sworn in as the United States Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s on July 29, 2009 by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He took up his duties in London on August 17, 2009 and retired on April 3, 2013. A banker and a lawyer with extensive experience, Ambassador Susman was the Vice Chairman of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking. He is also a former member of the Citigroup International Advisory Board. Prior to joining Salomon Brothers, Inc. in June 1989, Mr. Susman practiced law in the City of St. Louis for 27 years and was a senior partner at the St. Louis based law firm of Thompson & Mitchell. Ambassador Susman is presently the Non-Executive Chairman of Edelman, Special Advisor to BDT Capital Partners and Special Advisor to Henry Crown & Co. In addition, Ambassador Susman is a member of the Board of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Nick Littlefield (August 6, 1942 – February 4, 2017)
Partner at Foley Hoag, LLP
From 1989 through 1997, Nick Littlefield served as Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where he worked under Senator Kennedy’s direction to pass landmark legislation including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Ryan White AIDS Care Act, the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, the Family & Medical Leave Act, and the Safe Medical Devices Act. As a partner at Foley Hoag, LLP, Nick chaired the firm’s Government Strategies Group starting in 1998, and taught frequently at Harvard Law School, Northeastern University, and The Heller School for Social Policy and Management. From 1972 to 1976, he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.