|WSU Alum to Present "Liberia: Peace Corps to Peace Prize"|
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lea Ann Scales
Assistant Vice President
of Public Relations and Marketing
January 30, 2012
(Worcester, Mass.) – Noted activists and philanthropists Steven and Jacqueline Keenan will present “Liberia: Peace Corps to Peace Prize, a 50-year Journey,” Tuesday, February 14, at 1 p.m. in Worcester State University’s North/South Auditorium in the Student Center.
The couple, who met while serving as Peace Corps volunteers in Liberia in the 1960s, will discuss their educational initiatives in Liberia and encourage students to “get involved in the broader world,” according to Steven Keenan.
A 1963 graduate of WSU, Steven Keenan said, “When you see how others live, it gives you a greater appreciation of the opportunities and advantages we have here and makes you want to do your part to make the world a better place.”
Keenan served two years in the Peace Corps as a teacher in Liberia and another two years for CARE as a food distribution manager in Egypt before joining the City of Syracuse Department of Education. He earned a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Syracuse University and went on to become a highly successful business owner and entrepreneur. But the couple’s commitment to Liberia remained strong, prompting them to establish the Keenan Institute in Liberia to support vocational training for young adults. They have also supported the building of three elementary schools in the West African country.
“Liberia continues to face many challenge, but a lot of positive things are happening, especially in terms of health care and clean drinking water,” Keenan said. His hopes for the country have been renewed by the presidency of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year.
Closer to home, the Keenans serve on many boards in their community and volunteer for a number of good causes. They are staunch supporters of public higher education—Jacqueline is a graduate of SUNY-Albany— and have made generous donations to their respective alma maters. They have traveled extensively in Africa, Europe, and North America, and he is the author of Sojourns in West Africa, a memoir that paints a picture of people and places rarely visited.
“Our hope is that by sharing our experiences with students at Worcester State, we can inspire them to think about going out and seeing something of the world after they graduate,” said Keenan. “Traveling and volunteering open up a whole new perspective on what’s important and reinforce the fact that we can all make a difference.”
The presentation is sponsored by Theme Semester and the Center for the Study of Human Rights.