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John F. Kennedy University Honors Three Prominent Citizens

November 10, 2011

Special Veterans Day Fundraiser for Student Scholarships

PLEASANT HILL, CA – John F. Kennedy University, an affiliate of the National University System, will honor Kathy Ireland, Randy Williams, and James A. Taylor, Major, U.S. Army (Ret.), at this year’s Kennedy Laureate Award Dinner on Friday, November 11 at the Blackhawk Museum in Danville.

Kathy Ireland is a well-known supermodel, actress, author, and successful business entrepreneur who leads her branded international retail empire – Kathy Ireland Worldwide – which grosses $1.4 billion in annual sales. Her company’s “Giving Back” program supports deployed soldiers, child health, world poverty, and international education projects. Forbes magazine has named her “The Model Mogul” and recognized her deep corporate philanthropy focus.

Randy Williams founded Keiretsu Forum in 2000, bringing together like-minded community leaders for private equity investing and philanthropy. Keiretsu’s charitable giving through its members has donated to more than 100 non-profits, including Bay Area organizations such as Children’s Hospital, Super Stars Literacy, and the Arthritis Foundation. Keiretsu Forum, which started in the East Bay and now has chapters in 22 locations on three continents, has supported and funded 302 companies. Randy is a long-time Bay Area business force and was co-founder of the Diablo Valley Bank.

James A. Taylor, Major, U.S. Army (Ret.) is one of only 84 living Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. His actions of unsurpassed valor during the Vietnam War to rescue crewmen from damaged assault vehicles and personnel carriers while under enemy fire are an inspiration and in keeping with the highest traditions of the military profession.

Proceeds from the dinner will go directly toward scholarships, helping JFK University students who would otherwise be unable to attend college because of financial hardship. Funding is especially important to meeting the needs of returning soldiers. As a Yellow Ribbon School, JFK University is committed to offering post-911 veterans an education without cost whether they are pursuing an undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degree.

“It is our responsibility to help create success for veteran students,” said JFK University President Steve Stargardter. “These returning soldiers and their families have already sacrificed through their years of service, and the funding we raise to pay for their education is how we can show our gratitude.”

As a military friendly school, JFK University offers a wide variety of services and support to veterans. A veteran coordinator works to address the needs of veterans, ranging from money for books to childcare and transportation. The University also arranges for mental health counseling on campus for veterans, and offers individual academic support for whatever difficulties they are having with classes or technology. The University’s core faculty are also trained to work with soldiers returning to civilian life.

“We go beyond the GI bill and veteran benefits since these are limited in terms of education expense, the time in military service, and the time it takes to earn a degree,” explained Jennifer Galvin-Speers, Veteran Coordinator for JFK University. “We are an excellent place for veterans to continue their education, as we help them every step of the way from application to graduation.”

About John F. Kennedy University
Founded in 1964, John F. Kennedy University, an affiliate of the National University System, was among the first institutions of higher education in California committed to lifelong learning for adults. Today, the University’s three Colleges and Continuing Education division provide innovative higher education opportunities to more than 2,000 professionals who, despite a full range of life responsibilities, are determined to advance their education and improve their future. The Continuing Education division provides professional development education to more than 2,500 individuals per year. A pioneer of education that integrates theory and practice, John F. Kennedy University and its students touch the lives of more than 30,000 people in Bay Area communities every year through their support of outreach centers and public programs. For more information, visit

About the National University System
The National University System was established to meet the emerging challenges and demands of education in the 21st century. The System is uniquely aligned to connect a diverse population of students to a network of innovative educational programs that are relevant to their lives, careers, and the marketplace and are delivered in a format that respects competing life priorities. Dr. Jerry C. Lee has served as the System’s Chancellor since it was founded in 2001. In addition to John F. Kennedy University, the affiliates of the National University System are National University; National University International; the Division of Pre-College Programs consisting of National University Virtual High School and National University Academy; Spectrum Pacific Learning; and WestMed College. Entities related to the System include the National University System Institute for Policy Research, National University Golf Academy, and the Center for Integrative Health. For more information, visit: