Mary E. Kennard is the vice president and chief legal counsel for American University. She has over 30 years of experience in university administration and legal affairs. Ms. Kennard has served as a senior administrator at both public and private colleges and universities. In addition, Ms. Kennard has served as the chief development officer for both the University of Rhode Island and American University, planning and kicking off two successful capital campaigns. She has taught at the University of Pittsburgh - College of General Studies, University of Rhode Island - College of Business Administration, and the Washington College of Law at American University.
Ms. Kennard is a frequent lecturer at national conferences on law and higher education administration, and co-anchored and produced a Telly Award winning video in conjunction with the College and University Personnel Association (CUPA-HR). Ms. Kennard was the 2008-2009 President of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), with over 3000 attorney members nationally.
In October 2010, she was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), the in-house corporate bar association with over 40,000 attorney members worldwide. Ms. Kennard is a member of the ACC Executive Committee of the Board, the Secretary of the ACC Board, and the ACC Chair of Membership. She was the 2007 President of the Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association (WMACCA), one of the largest chapters of ACC with over 2000 attorney members in the D.C. metro area.
She has served on the Boston University, Metropolitan College Dean's Advisory Council, the Advisory Board of the Georgetown University Law Center- Corporate Counsel Institute, and was a 15-year member of the Board of Directors of the Washington Trust Company, (NASDAQ: Wash), the oldest community bank in the United States (founded in 1800).
In May of 2013, Kennard received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Rhode Island in recognition of her commitment to diversity in U.S. higher education. Kennard was the first African American Vice President of the University of Rhode Island, and the first African American to serve as legal counsel for an entire state system of higher education in the United States. In October 2016, she will begin her term on the Board of Directors of the HERS Institute, a leadership training institute for women in higher education.
Ms. Kennard attended Boston University and received her undergraduate degree in applied science. After earning her Juris Doctorate from Temple University, Beasley School of Law in 1980, and Master of Laws in international and comparative law from The George Washington University, National Law Center, she served as counsel to the University of Pittsburgh, Howard University, the University of Rhode Island, the Community College of Rhode Island, and Rhode Island College, before joining American University in 1995.