Mark Kennedy (politician)

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Mark Kennedy
Mark Kennedy, official photo portrait, color.jpg
12th President of the
University of North Dakota
Assumed office
July 1, 2016
Preceded byEd Schafer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 6th district
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2007
Preceded byBill Luther
Succeeded byMichele Bachmann
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded byDavid Minge
Succeeded byJohn Kline
Personal details
Mark Raymond Kennedy

(1957-04-11) April 11, 1957 (age 62)
Benson, Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Debbie Kennedy
ResidenceGrand Forks, North Dakota
Alma materSt. John's University
University of Michigan

Mark Raymond Kennedy (born April 11, 1957), is an American businessman, politician, and administrator, who is currently serving as the 12th president of the University of North Dakota, having previously led the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management.[1] A Republican, he served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Minnesota from 2001 to 2007. Kennedy did not seek re-election in 2006, instead running in the 2006 election for U.S. Senate. He lost the general election to Democratic–Farmer–Labor nominee Amy Klobuchar.

Early life and business career[edit]

Kennedy graduated from Pequot Lakes High School in 1975, and St. John's University in 1979. He began his career as a Certified Public Accountant and went on to receive his M.B.A. with distinction from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business in 1983.

Kennedy's business career prior to the U.S. Congress included working for The Pillsbury Company, assisting with their acquisition of Häagen-Dazs and arranging for financing to support their international expansion. As a senior executive at Federated Department Stores, he helped the company position itself for growth to become, as Macy's, the world's leading department store. He was profiled in May 1992's Institutional Investor Magazine, which featured him on its cover as one of "America's top CFOs". At ShopKo Stores, he was responsible for merchandising, marketing and store management.

Political career (2001–2007)[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

In 2000, Kennedy won the Republican nomination for the 2nd district and faced four-term Democratic incumbent Rep. David Minge. He had never run for political office before. In the closest congressional race of that cycle, Kennedy defeated Minge by a mere 155 votes.

Leading up to the 2002 elections, although Minnesota didn't gain or lose any districts, Kennedy's 2nd district—a monstrous 28-county district stretching from the southwestern corner of the state to the fringes of the Twin Cities—was dismantled. Its territory was split up among four neighboring districts. Kennedy's home outside Watertown was located just inside the reconfigured 6th district, in the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities.

In 2002, Kennedy initially expected to face the 6th district's three-term Democratic incumbent, Rep. Bill Luther. However, the new 6th was somewhat more Republican than its predecessor, and Luther opted to move to the reconfigured 2nd district, where he eventually lost to John Kline. Thus, Kennedy instead faced Janet Robert, a lawyer and long-time Democratic activist. In one of the most expensive congressional races in Minnesota history, Kennedy was re-elected with 57% of the vote.

In 2004, Kennedy faced child safety advocate Patty Wetterling. Kennedy received 54% percent of the popular vote to Wetterling's 46%.

2006 U.S. Senate election[edit]

Kennedy did not seek re-election to the House in 2006.

Instead, Kennedy ran against DFL nominee and Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by DFL incumbent Sen. Mark Dayton. Also in the race were: the Independence Party nominee, Robert Fitzgerald; the Green Party nominee, Michael Cavlan; and the Constitution Party nominee, Ben Powers.

Klobuchar won the election, receiving 58% of the vote to Kennedy's 38%.

Political views[edit]

Kennedy's support of the proposed surge in the Iraq War during the 2006 Senate election was described as "bold and smart" on the Brit Hume show on Fox News (Fox News, Brit Hume Show, 12-27-06). Anderson Cooper, an anchor on CNN, said that "Kennedy doesn't ignore the elephant in the room, to the contrary, he looks it straight in the eye" (CNN, Anderson Cooper 360°, 10-25-06).

A proponent of free trade, Kennedy voted in favor of in giving the President fast-track authority and of the Central America Free Trade Agreement.[2]

In Congress, Kennedy supported the Bush tax cuts, he voted for the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan,[3] and the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.[4] Kennedy's reputation as a reformer was further enhanced by his sponsorship of the line item veto,[5] a lifetime ban on all members of Congress becoming lobbyists,[6] full deductibility of medical expenses,[7] no parole for sex offenders,[8] and Medicare Plan Enrollment Fraud Protection.[9]

Kennedy's record of bipartisanship included partnering with twenty Democrats to lead legislation and having more than half the Democrats in the House co-sponsor bills he introduced. Such bills included authoring:

Kennedy refers to himself as "100% pro-life". He voted in favor of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and he voted to sustain President Bush's veto on the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005.[2]

Post-congressional career (2007–present)[edit]

Community activities[edit]

In 2007, Kennedy was appointed to the President's Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiation (ACTPN).[18] ACTPN, a part of the Office of the United States Trade Representative, considers trade policy issues in the context of overall national interest.

In 2008, Kennedy, along with former Reps. Tim Penny and Bill Frenzel from Minnesota, founded the Economic Club of Minnesota (ECOM),[19] a nonpartisan platform for national and international leaders in business, government, and public policy to present their ideas on how Minnesota can better compete in an increasingly globalized economy.

In 2008, he established the Frontiers of Freedom Lecture Series at the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy at his alma mater, St. John's University.

Kennedy became a member of the Economic Club of Washington in 2013 and Chatham House in 2014.

In 2015, Kennedy was elected to the Council on Foreign Relations.


From 2007–10 Kennedy served as the Global Retail Business Development Lead for Accenture, a global management consulting, technology, and outsourcing services firm. In 2010, he formed Chartwell Strategic Advisors LLC. Kennedy's activities through Chartwell include speaking on applying 360° Vision to bridge differences between business and society; the political left and right; the United States and the world.

From 2011–13 Kennedy served as an Executive in Residence at Johns Hopkins University's Carey Business School in Baltimore, Maryland, teaching MBA courses on Corporate Statesmanship, Global Economic Systems, as well as global immersion courses in Brazil and Turkey.

In January 2012, Kennedy accepted the position of Director and Professor at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management.[20] During his tenure, the school launched two new master's programs—one in Spanish with a Latin American focus and one focused on advocacy in the global environment.[21] During Kennedy's tenure, the school was designated as the PR Education Program of the Year by PR Week.[22]

Since 2012, Kennedy has also been an adjunct faculty member at Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey.

Kennedy introduced the concept of "Shapeholders" to the field of business strategy—the political, regulatory, media, and activist actors that shape a firm's opportunities and risks. Kennedy teaches how to effectively engage shapeholders both at home and abroad to profitably advance business strategies while benefiting society.

Presidency of the University of North Dakota (2016–2019)[edit]

On March 15, 2016, the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education announced that Kennedy had been selected as the twelfth President of the University of North Dakota.[23] Kennedy, who had filed his application on January 2, 2016, was in February of that year the third of six finalists to visit the University.[24] Kennedy succeeded president Robert Kelley, who retired in January 2016, and Ed Schafer, who served as interim President until Kennedy assumed office on July 1.[25] He was inaugurated on October 10, 2016.[26]

Notable achievements by UND during Kennedy's tenure include being ranked by U.S. News as one of the 25 Most Innovative Schools[27] and being awarded the 2017 Big Sky Conference Presidents' Cup for outstanding student-athlete academic achievement while winning four conference championships in one year.[28]

On May 9, 2017, Kennedy's book, Shapeholders: Business Success in the Age of Activism, was published by Columbia Business School while he was President of the University of North Dakota.[29]

On April 9, 2019 Kennedy was named the sole finalist for the position of President at the University of Colorado. On April 10, 2019, Kennedy stated in an email that he would be leaving the University of North Dakota to accept the position. [30]

Sports Cut Under Kennedy[edit]


Budget Cuts Under Kennedy[edit]

Due to government shortfall, multiple cuts had to be made during Kennedy's tenure


Feud With Alumni[edit]

In March of 2019 it was announced that the Engelstad Family will withhold all donations to the University of North Dakota while President Kennedy is at UND. Frustrations over the $110 Million Foundation lead to this decision along with poor staffing choices by Mark Kennedy.[33]

Willingness to Leave Campus[edit]

In March 2018 Mark Kennedy was pursing a job as University of Central Florida President but was not chosen.[34] In April 2019 Mark Kennedy became a finalist for the University of Colorado[35]

Electoral history[edit]

Kennedy (left) with President George W. Bush (right) and Congressman Gil Gutknecht looking on (center).
  • 2006 Race for U.S. Senate
    • Amy Klobuchar (DFL), 58%
    • Mark Kennedy (R), 38%
    • Robert Fitzgerald (I), 3%
  • 2004 Race for U.S. House of Representatives – 6th District
  • 2002 Race for U.S. House of Representatives – 6th District
    • Mark Kennedy (R) (inc.), 57%
    • Janet Robert (DFL), 35%
    • Dan Becker (I), 7%
  • 2000 Race for U.S. House of Representatives – 2nd District


  1. ^ "Message from the Director". Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Mark Kennedy on the Issues". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005 – 2006) – H.J.RES.71 – Cosponsors – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  6. ^ "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005 – 2006) – H.R.4658 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  7. ^ "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005-06) – H.R.4625 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". 2005-12-17. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  8. ^ "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005 – 2006) – H.R.4621 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  9. ^ "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005-06) – H.R.4406 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  10. ^ "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005-06) – H.R.4622 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". 2005-12-17. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  11. ^ "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005-06) – H.R.765 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". 2005-03-22. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  12. ^ "Bill Summary & Status – 108th Congress (2003-04) – H.R.583 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  13. ^ "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005 – 2006) – H.R.2525 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  14. ^ "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005-06) – H.R.4623 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". 2005-12-17. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  15. ^ "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005-06) – H.R.4315 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  16. ^ "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005-06) – H.R.4233 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". 2005-11-04. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  17. ^ "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005 – 2006) – H.R.3513 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  18. ^ [1] Archived January 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Economic Club of Minnesota". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  20. ^ "Kennedy to lead George Washington grad school program". Politics in Minnesota.
  21. ^ "Graduate School of Political Management Master's Programs".
  22. ^ "PR Education Program of the Year 2015". Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  23. ^ Dakota, - The University of North. "State Board of Higher Education appoints Mark Kennedy UND president | 03 | 2016 | News | UND: University of North Dakota". Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  24. ^ Dakota, - The University of North. "Campus Visits | President Search | UND: University of North Dakota". Retrieved 2016-03-17.[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ Dakota, - The University of North. "Biography | President | UND: University of North Dakota". Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  26. ^ "University of North Dakota sets inauguration for president". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-10-09.
  27. ^ "Most Innovative Schools". U.S. News. 9/11/2017. Archived from the original on 9/12/17. Retrieved 9/12/17. Check date values in: |access-date=, |date=, |archive-date= (help)
  28. ^ "North Dakota captures first Big Sky Presidents' Cup". Big Sky Conference. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  29. ^ Kennedy, Mark R. (May 2017). Shapeholders: Business Success in the Age of Activism. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231542784.
  30. ^ "UND President Mark Kennedy named the sole finalist for University of Colorado's next President". Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
David Minge
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 2nd congressional district

January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Succeeded by
John Kline
Preceded by
Bill Luther
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 6th congressional district

January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2007
Succeeded by
Michele Bachmann
Party political offices
Preceded by
Rod Grams
Republican nominee for
U.S. Senator from Minnesota (Class 1)

Succeeded by
Kurt Bills
Academic offices
Preceded by
Ed Schafer
President of the University of North Dakota
July 1, 2016 – present