The Honorable Barbara Bailey Kennelly ’58, a former member of Congress and public policy expert, joined Trinity’s faculty in August as a distinguished professor of political science. This fall she is teaching “Political Power: Interest Groups, Lobbying and Public Policy” in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Professional Studies.
“Barbara Kennelly is a political trailblazer who has dedicated her career to exemplary public service and outstanding advocacy,” said President Patricia McGuire in announcing her appointment. “We are honored to have her join our faculty and we look forward to her sharing her expertise and political insight with our students.”
“I am absolutely delighted to be teaching at Trinity,” said Kennelly. “The students are so engaging, inquisitive and eager to learn.”
Kennelly was elected to the Hartford City Council in 1975, where she was a member until 1979. She then served as the secretary of the state of Connecticut for three years. She was elected to Congress in a special election; she subsequently won re-election eight times and represented Connecticut’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1982 until 1999. During her tenure, she became the highest ranking woman in Congress when her party colleagues elected her vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus. She was the first woman to serve on the House Intelligence Committee and to chair one of its subcommittees. She was only the third woman in history to serve on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
Kennelly continued her long track record of advocating for justice and fair treatment for all Americans in her role as president and chief executive officer of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. In that position, she was highly regarded as an effective advocate and policy expert and was a major force behind-the-scenes for health care reform. In spring 2011 she stepped down after nine years of leadership of the organization. She gave the Commencement address and received an honorary degree from Trinity in 2005. The Barbara B. Kennelly Post Office Building in Hartford is named in her honor. In May 2011 she was honored with the Governor William A. O’Neill Award for her years of distinguished public service at the 63rd annual Connecticut state Democratic Jefferson Jackson Bailey Dinner in Hartford.