Lisa Marie Sinatra
When asked why they support UMass Lowell, the majority of alumni say they want to give back to the institution that gave them hope for the future and paved a road for their success. In John Kennedy’s case, it’s still the first thing that comes to mind each time he donates to the University.
“I wouldn’t have been as lucky or as successful if I didn’t go to a state school. UMass Lowell put me on a path and provided me with a great education and the support I needed to get ahead,” says Kennedy, who received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Lowell Technological Institute in 1970.
Kennedy’s most recent donation of $250,000 to the new Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center (ETIC) is just another example of his dedication and contribution to the growth of the University.
“I received my degree from the College of Sciences. Future students who pursue science degrees will directly benefit from the programs and research that will be conducted inside the walls of the new ETIC building. It was important to me to support this project that will advance research and the sciences at UMass Lowell,” he says.
Kennedy served as president and chief financial officer of Nova Ventures, the holding company for Nova Analytics Corp. (NAC), founded in 2002, and Nova Technologies Corp. (NTC), later founded in 2005. Work at NAC focused on analytical instrumentation while NTC was involved in environmental services. NAC and NTC were sold in 2010 and 2008, respectively.
Before his retirement in 2009, Kennedy kept close ties with the University by volunteering his time, participating on committees and teaching. For the last two years he served as adjunct professor in the College of Management, teaching Entrepreneureal Finance to students eager to learn from the CPA and businessman with more than 30 years of financial and technology management experience.
His interest in science also led him to serve on the advisory board of the Nanotechnology Group and he is currently chair of the Sciences Advisory Board in the College of Sciences, and a member of the advisory board for the Center for High-Rate Nanomanufacturing.
Having served as a 2010 Commencement Host Committee member and as a current member of the Chancellor’s External Advisory Board, Kennedy says he stays busy and well-informed of what’s happening in and around the University.
“John is a tireless supporter of the University,” says Edward Chiu, vice chancellor for Advancement. “We are deeply grateful for the time he gives and the dedication he shows toward UMass Lowell and the students.”
To this end, Kennedy founded the Kennedy Foundation, which supports UMass Lowell as well as UMass Amherst, where he received a master’s degree in accounting. He is also a top supporter of the Martin T. Meehan Educational Excellence Fund and his Kennedy Family Merit Scholarship Endowment consistently provides scholarship support for students enrolled in the College of Sciences. In addition, he established the William J. Kennedy Endowed Scholarship Fund in honor of his brother to provide scholarships to undergraduate students at UMass Lowell.
When Kennedy has some free time, he can be seen at alumni events and at University athletic competitions. A longtime golf enthusiast, Kennedy recently served as the assistant coach for the River Hawks golf team and stays active by running, participating in a handful of marathons including Boston and Washington, D.C. His love of sports eventually led him to support UMass Lowell athletics; he donated funds to such projects as a new floor for the basketball court.
After retiring in 2009, Kennedy moved to Naples, Fla., where he stays active in the community. He periodically returns to Lowell for board meetings and other events.
“Each time I return to campus I see something new,” says Kennedy. “There’s constant growth here both physically and academically, and the streets are alive with energetic students dedicated to learning. It’s a great source of pride for me to be a part of this movement. Knowing that the support I give directly impacts these students and the goals of the University is very satisfying.”