Doris Kearns Goodwin

Doris Kearns Goodwin and Dick Goodwin to speak at UMass Lowell.

Joseph Kennedy to Moderate Special Event as Part of Commencement Weekend

LOWELL, Mass. – Doris Kearns Goodwin, historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and Richard Goodwin, author and former presidential adviser, will headline a special event on Friday, May 28 that kicks off UMass Lowell’s 2010 Commencement festivities.

The Goodwins will present “A Conversation with Dick and Doris” at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, 50 Warren St., Lowell at 4 p.m. The program will be moderated by former U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II and is the first of three events to celebrate the university’s 2010 Commencement weekend. The annual Commencement Eve Gala, which raises funds for student scholarships, is also on Friday, May 28 and the Commencement ceremony is on Saturday, May 29 at 9:30 a.m. and features National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell as speaker. Goodell and his brothers also will accept a posthumous Doctor of Humane Letters degree for their father, the late U.S. Sen. Charles Goodell. In 1968, Charles Goodell, then a member of Congress, was appointed to the U.S. Senate seat of Robert F. Kennedy, the father of Joseph P. Kennedy II, after his assassination.

The Goodwins have strong ties to the Kennedy family. Richard Goodwin served as an adviser and speechwriter to President John F. Kennedy and adviser to U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy during his 1968 campaign for president. Doris Kearns Goodwin is the author of the bestselling book, “The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys,” which was made into an ABC miniseries, and is a frequent commentator on the Kennedys.

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s work as an assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson led to her first book, “Lyndon Johnson & the American Dream,” which became a bestseller. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for, “No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The American Home Front During World War II.” Her book, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” reached No. 1 on The New York Times Bestseller List and is being developed as a feature film by director Steven Spielberg.

Richard Goodwin is a playwright and author, and served as an adviser to presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Goodwin worked for the congressional committee investigating the “Twenty-One” quiz show scandal and his experiences provided the story for the 1994 Oscar-nominated film “Quiz Show,” in which he is portrayed by actor Rob Morrow. Goodwin, who served as a Supreme Court clerk early in his career, was involved in the anti-war movement and directed Eugene McCarthy’s 1968 presidential campaign in New Hampshire and Wisconsin before joining Robert Kennedy’s campaign. He has authored a number of the most memorable speeches in modern American history, including John F. Kennedy’s Latin American speeches, Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society and civil rights speeches, Robert Kennedy’s South African speech and Al Gore’s speech conceding the 2000 presidential election. Goodwin is also a contributor to The New Yorker magazine.

“We are honored to have the Goodwins join us in celebrating this special time at UMass Lowell,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan. “Their contributions to American history and government are legendary; we look forward to sharing their stories and valuable insight with the university and members of the community.”

Event moderator Joseph Kennedy is the founder and president of Boston-based Citizens Energy Corp., which provides support for charitable programs around the country, including fuel assistance.

Admission to “A Conversation with Dick and Doris” is $25 per person and free for UMass Lowell students with valid ID. The Goodwins will sign copies of their books, which will be available for sale.

The Commencement Eve Gala, which runs from 6 to 8:30 p.m., provides an opportunity to hear and meet the honorary degree recipients, who also include philosopher and author Gloria Ladson-Billings; physicist and novelist Alan P. Lightman; distinguished alumna Bonnie A. Comley, ’81, an award-winning producer; and Commencement speaker Roger Goodell.  The event will also honor UMass Lowell students with awards for academic excellence and service to the university and community. Admission is $125 per person (which includes admission to the Goodwin event, as well as food, refreshments and entertainment) and all proceeds will go to student scholarships. Contributions may be designated to two new endowments, the Charles E. Goodell Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Doris Kearns Goodwin and Richard N. Goodwin Endowed Scholarship Fund, as well as the UMass Lowell Scholars Fund.

For more information about Commencement weekend activities, contact Elaine Dalton at 978-934-3689 or visit www.uml.edu/commencement.