Chairman & CEO, Special Olympics, Continuing the Kennedy Family legacy of public service
Tim Shriver is a social leader, educator, activist, film producer, and business entrepreneur. As Chairman & CEO of Special Olympics, he serves nearly 4 million Special Olympics athletes and their families in 180 countries and has helped transform Special Olympics into a movement that focuses on acceptance, inclusion, and respect for individuals with intellectual disabilities in all corners of the globe.
In his 15 years at the helm of Special Olympics, Shriver launched the organization’s most ambitious growth agenda leading to the recruitment of over 2 million new athletes around the world. He has worked with the leaders of China to initiate a thriving program in their country highlighted by the country’s hosting of 2007 Special Olympics World Games in Shanghai. He has also worked with world leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Bertie Ahern, Rafiq Hariri, Thabo Mbeki, Julius Nyerere, and Shimon Peres to advance the growth of the Special Olympics mission and vision while challenging nations to adopt more supportive and just policies. He has spearheaded programs in developing or war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Bosnia Herzegovina, and Iraq.
Shriver has also created exciting new Special Olympics programs in athlete leadership, cross-cultural research, health, education, and family support. Among them, Special Olympics Healthy Athletes has become the world’s largest public health screening and education program for people with intellectual disabilities, and Special Olympics Get Into It, together with Unified Sports, promotes inclusion and acceptance around the world. In addition, he has worked to garner more legislative attention and government support for issues of concern to the Special Olympics community, testifying before Congress on a few occasions.
Along with producing a number of inspirational Hollywood films, including Amistad and The Loretta Claiborne Story, Shriver has produced or co-produced shows for ABC, TNT, and NBC networks, and made broadcast appearances on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Meet the Press, CNN, and Real Time with Bill Maher.
Shriver served as a high school teacher in the New Haven, Connecticut public school system, and as a counselor and teacher in the University of Connecticut branch of the Upward Bound program for disadvantaged youth. He became a Fellow at the School Development Program at the Yale Child Study Center and was instrumental in establishing the Social Development Project at the public schools in New Haven. He later established the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, the leading research organization in the field of social and emotional learning, at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Shriver earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University, a Master's degree in Religion and Religious Education from Catholic University, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Connecticut. He is the recipient of numerous honors, including honorary degrees from Loyola University, New England College, Albertus Magnus College, University of Connecticut, Niagara University, and the University of Illinois; the Medal of the City of Athens, Greece; the Order de Manuel Amador Guerrera of the Republic of Panama; the Connecticut Citizen of the Year Award; the U.S. Surgeon General’s Medallion; the Lions Humanitarian Award, and the Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award. In 2011 he was recognized by The Huffington Post as one of the top 100 Game Changers.
He and his wife, Linda Potter, reside in the Washington, D.C. area with their five children.