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Kathleen Kennedy Townsend opens Squeaky Weal lecture series at SXU

Maryland's first woman lieutenant governor

Chicago (Aug. 15, 2007) � Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Maryland�s first woman lieutenant governor, will kick off Saint Xavier University�s 2007-08 Squeaky Weal lecture series at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, at Saint Xavier�s Chicago campus, 3700 W. 103rd St.

The lecture is free and open to the public and will be held in the Butler Reception Room, located in the Warde Academic Center.

Townsend�s lecture is titled �How American Churches Are Failing Our Faith, Our Politics, and Our Country.� After the lecture, Townsend will answer questions from the audience and sign copies of her new book, Failing America�s Faithful: How Today�s Churches are Mixing God with Politics and Losing Their Way.

�I wrote this book as a way of sharing what my faith has meant to me, but, more importantly, as a way of reminding us, as a country, how the United States has been shaped by progressive religious traditions,� states Townsend on her Web site, www.kathleenkennedytownsend.com. �At their best, these traditions have made America a more just, inclusive and fair nation. Christians and non-Christians alike can learn again from our history to understand how faith can serve to better unify our country, rather than divide it.�

Saint Xavier�s Squeaky Weal lecture series explores the role of religion in civic life and the importance of being involved in civic and political issues. The series is sponsored by the Center for Religion and Public Discourse.

�Kathleen Kennedy Townsend�s exploration of the relationship between religion and politics is both thought-provoking and timely,� said Sister Susan Sanders, R.S.M., vice president for University Mission and Heritage and director of the Center for Religion and Public Discourse. �Her call for religious people to respond to the needs of the poor is compelling and grounded in a spiritual and political vision for a better world.�

The daughter of Robert F. and Ethel Kennedy, Townsend is president of Operation Respect, a nationwide character education program that teaches right from wrong, and personal and social responsibility. She is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University�s School of Public Policy. 

Townsend has a long history of accomplishment in the public arena. In addition to being Maryland�s first woman lieutenant governor, she was deputy assistant attorney general of the United States. She also founded and directed the Maryland Student Service Alliance, leading the fight to make Maryland the first state in the nation to require all high school students to perform community service.

She currently serves on the boards of directors of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Civic Works, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, the Institute for Human Virology and the Character Education Partnership. An honors graduate of Harvard University, she received her law degree from the University of New Mexico, where she was a member of the law review.

For more information about the lecture, please contact Kathy Mareska at (773) 298-3981 or mareska@sxu.edu, or visit www.sxu.edu. 

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Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1846, Saint Xavier University was the first Mercy college in the United States and is Chicago�s oldest Catholic university. Serving approximately 5,700 students at its campuses in Chicago, Orland Park and its Loop location, the University offers 35 undergraduate majors; more than 40 graduate program options in arts and sciences, business, education and nursing; and a variety of program options in continuing and professional studies. Recognizing Saint Xavier�s excellence in education, U.S. News and World Report has ranked SXU consistently among the Best Colleges in the Midwest.

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