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January 8, 2004 - GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN (January 7, 2004) - The Thirteenth Annual St. Thomas Aquinas Lecture will feature Sr. Diane Kennedy, O.P., associate provost of Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois. Kennedy's lecture is entitled "The Dominican Charism in Higher Education: Where Compassion and Truth Shall Meet" is on Thursday, January 29, 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Aquinas Wege Student Center Ballroom. A charism is a gift of God's Spirit given to some for the sake of others. The charism Sr. Kennedy will be addressing emphasizes study and the pursuit of truth. The lecture is part of St. Thomas Aquinas week, held annually in recognition of the College's name sake, St. Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican scholar and teacher considered one of the greatest minds of the thirteenth century. The public is welcome to attend this interesting and free event.

Sr. Kennedy, a Sinsinawa Dominican, served for 13 years at the Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri, as vice president and academic dean prior to her appointment to Dominican University. During her tenure at the Aquinas Institute, the enrollment more than doubled. The school began three master's programs in Colorado Springs, Kansas City and Oklahoma City for students interested in pursuing a master's degree in ministry but unable to travel to St. Louis. The Institute also began a unique program to educate health care professionals in Catholic hospitals on the theology and responsibilities of the Catholic healing ministry. Under Sr. Kennedy's leadership, the school implemented a one-of-a-kind degree in the United States, the Doctor of Ministry in Preaching.

She has served on the executive board of the Midwest Association of Theological Schools, and for six years she served on the executive committee of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), the accreditation agency for 233 seminaries and schools of theology in the United States and Canada. In June 1996, Sr. Kennedy became the first Catholic woman to be elected president of ATS. She also served as a member of the Directorum of the Pontificia Universita S. Tommaso, known more familiarly as the Angelicum, the internal Dominican University in Rome.

Currently Sr. Kennedy serves as a member of the following organizations: the board of directions of The Fund for Theological Education; advisory committee of The Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion; ATS Advisory Committee on Women in Leadership in Theological Education; and Dominican University Board of Trustees.

Having received her bachelor of arts in English from Rosary College in 1955, she went on to earn a master of arts in English from the University of Notre Dame and a master of arts in theology from the Aquinas Institute of Theology. Sr. Kennedy holds a doctor of ministry degree from the Pacific School of Religion, Berkley, California.