Saturday, January 22, 2011

Profile: Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr (1915-2011)

Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr., known as Sargent Shriver, R. Sargent Shriver, or, from childhood, Sarge, (pronounced /ˈsɑrdʒənt ˈʃraɪvər/; November 9, 1915 – January 18, 2011) was an American politician and activist.

As the husband of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, he was part of the Kennedy family, serving in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Shriver was the driving force behind the creation of the Peace Corps, founded the Job Corps, Head Start and other programs as the "architect" of Johnson's "War on Poverty" and served as the United States Ambassador to France.

When John F. Kennedy ran for president, Shriver worked as a political and organization coordinator in the Wisconsin and West Virginia primaries. During Kennedy's presidential term, Shriver served as the first director of the Peace Corps.

After Kennedy's assassination, Shriver continued to serve as Director of the Peace Corps and served as Special Assistant to President Lyndon Johnson. Under Johnson, he created the Office of Economic Opportunity with William B. Mullins and served as its first Director. He is known as the "architect" of the Johnson administration's "War on Poverty".

Shriver founded numerous social programs and organizations, including Head Start, VISTA, Job Corps, Community Action, Upward Bound, Foster Grandparents, Legal Services, the National Clearinghouse for Legal Services (now the Shriver Center), Indian and Migrant Opportunities and Neighborhood Health Services, in addition to directing the Peace Corps. He was active in Special Olympics, founded by his wife Eunice.

Shriver served as U.S. ambassador to France from 1968 to 1970, becoming a quasi-celebrity among the French for bringing what Time magazine called "a rare and welcome panache" to the normally sedate world of international diplomacy.


No comments: