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Visiting Speaker Series: Mark Shriver

Visiting Speaker Series: Mark Shriver
Meredith Berry-Toon

Canterbury’s inaugural Social Justice Week brought students and faculty together for daily discussions and educational events centered by the three tenets of Dr. King’s life: faith, service, and social justice. The Diversity and Inclusion Club (CDIC) hosted conversation on the March from Selma to Montgomery while the Environmental Club spoke about climate change through the lens of social justice. With faculty, staff, and student combined, the community gathered to learn and consider topics such as intersectionality and food insecurity through the lens of service and justice.

In the spirit of Dr. King’s legacy, Mr. Mark Shriver was invited to join the community on Friday morning as the week’s keynote speaker. Mr. Shriver expanded on the campus-wide topic of social justice by speaking to his work, the work of his father, Sargent Shriver ‘34, and the related themes of his two books—A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father Sargent Shriver and Pilgrimage: My Search for the Real Pope Francis.

Through his own work, Mr. Shriver has dedicated his life to embracing and promoting Dr. King’s tenets in his commitment to political advocacy and fair social policy. He served as a state legislator in Maryland for eight years before transitioning to his current role with Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), the political advocacy arm of Save the Children, the international organization whose mission is to promote children’s rights across the globe. In partnership with SCAN, Mr. Shriver’s daily work is centered on faith, service, and social justice—ensuring that all children in the U.S. have access to high-quality early childhood education and that moms and kids around the world do not die from preventable causes.

In his address to students, Mr. Shriver shared stories of his own work, as well as several detailing his father’s time at Canterbury. “Canterbury sharpened my father’s Catholic faith, exposed him to experiences he would not have had otherwise, and helped shape his vision of the Peace Corps,” Mr. Shriver noted before sharing one of Sargent Shriver’s timely and directed quotes: “Serve, serve, serve! That’s the challenge. For in the end, it will be the servants who save us all.”

Following his full-community address, Mr. Shriver answered questions from the crowd and spoke individually with students and faculty in the Center for Spirituality, Service, and Justice (CSSJ). “You are not going to succeed in everything; the question is, what are you going to do about that,” he remarked during the Q&A session. Questions from students ranged from how to bounce back from failure to how he thought his father may feel about our progress on the War on Poverty. Mr. Shriver’s answers were resoundingly centered on the importance of integrity, faith, and humbleness. “It’s what you do everyday to make a difference that will make the difference.”

Canterbury extends our deepest gratitude to Mr. Shriver for joining our community to commemorate Social Justice Week.

For more information on service at Canterbury, please visit our Spirituality page or contact the Director of the Center of Spirituality, Service, and Justice, Tracy Garcia-LaVigne.

Photos of Mark Shriver’s Address