Edward Kennedy ‘Loved This Spot’

Edward Kennedy Loved This Spot

Edward Kennedy ‘Loved This Spot’

Caleb Nelson

The peninsula UMB shares with the JFK library and Mass Archives may have another addition in the near future. This one will be in Honor of the late Senator Edward Kennedy, whose funeral was held at the JFK Library in August.

Initial plans for the Kennedy Institute are well underway, but funding is the main concern right now. Senator Kerry’s latest $20 million earmark on the defense bill for his late friend’s new institute will provide 40% of the initial money needed for the project, if it passes.

Joe, a 74 year old who has been a volunteer at the JFK library for seven years and did not give his last name, said he has mixed feelings about the earmark, but he’s excited to see the project begin to take shape.

“They’ve cleaned up this peninsula a lot since I was young,” he said. “This is going to be an excellent addition.”

The Kennedy Institute will be built on property owned by UMB. While it will house Edward Kennedy’s papers and a museum area, there will also be a portion of the building dedicated to research and training young people interested in getting involved in politics.

“Senator Kennedy loved this spot, and UMass Boston especially. He really wanted a research component over at the campus there,” said Joe.

While the Kennedy Institute will be independent of the Kennedy Library, which is a federally owned archive, the two will have a close relationship, Joe said. Already he has seen an increase in interest for the JFK library in the past few months.

“Since [Edward] Kennedy died the number of visitors here has increased . . . well look, just last Sunday we had 2,000 people come here. Can you believe that? Normally we’ll have about 1,300 on a busy weekend,” Joe said. “Once [the Kennedy Institute] is built we probably will have that kind of crowd every weekend.”

Chancellor Motley and others on campus were not available to speak about the project this past week. Since the project is still in the preliminary stages, Joe and everyone else at the JFK library do not know much about the project.

“I’m just picking up what I’ve seen in the local newspaper. Haven’t heard about any more plans. A new CEO was appointed [Peter Meade] a former executive of Blue Cross Blue Shield,” said Joe.

The Dorchester Reporter ran an article on Meade’s appointment in July. In the article Meade said he was excited about the project, and said that Senator Kennedy is thrilled with the location, next to his brother’s library.

“[Kennedy] said, ‘I want it at UMass. UMass people are my people.'” Meade said to the Dorchester Reporter.

Students at UMB are excited to have a new resource close to the campus. Student Trustee Tara DeSisto said that UMB would provide the land, but probably not much more. It is meant to be a resource for UMB students as well as people from all over the world.

“We are only funding a small portion of it … it is going to be an exact replica of the Senate floor in DC. I don’t believe that it is going to be a teaching facility, but much like the JFK, our students will have access to it as a research center,” DeSisto said in an email.