I think everything that should be said has been said, and maybe more too. But the thing that impresses me is this: It is not the David M. Kennedy Center, but Brigham Young University and what it can do, in and through this center, to increase understanding and a greater appreciation of men and women everywhere. There are good people in all the world who need what we have and what we have to offer, and it is interesting that the trustees of the university have seen this vision.
Kennedy’s response at the ceremonial opening of the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, 1 October 1985, Brigham Young University
Statement by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
David M. Kennedy had impressive careers in both government and banking and was also a valiant servant of the Lord in his various callings for the Church. After serving as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and carrying out diplomatic assignments for the government, he spent several years in another type of ambassadorial role, as a special representative of the First Presidency. His efforts were instrumental in gaining recognition of the Church in many nations. He lived a full and productive life, but will still be missed by his family, friends, the nation, and the Church. We extend our thanks to his family for sharing him with us.
David Matthew Kennedy: Banker, Statesman, Churchman
by Martin Berkeley Hickman
When David Matthew Kennedy took his place as Secretary of the Treasury in the cabinet of the president of the United States, he stood second only to the Secretary of State. No other native of Utah or member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has held a higher position in the United States government. How did this Mormon farm boy, born of second-generation Americans in a small isolated ranching community, reach this position?
In this illuminating biography, published in cooperation with the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies at Brigham Young University, author Martin Hickman traces David Kennedy’s early life, his mission to Great Britain, his marriage to Lenora Bingham, and his entry in to the world of banking after he obtained a law degree. From employment at the Federal Reserve board in Washington, D.C., he went on to Continental Illinois Bank and Trust Company in Chicago and rose to become chairman and chief executive officer. And after two years in the cabinet of Richard Nixon, he became ambassador-at-large for the United States, where his negotiations on monetary and trade matters took him to many international capitals.
Parallel with his professional career, Kennedy has served in key positions with the Church in Washington and Chicago. And just when he had decided to retire to a small town in Utah, he was called to serve as special representative to the First Presidency of the Church, an ambassadorial assignment that again took him to all parts of the world to meet with government and ecclesiastical leaders.
Deep faith and commitment to righteous principles have motivated David Kennedy and provided the basis for his outstanding achievements. When as a small boy he asked his father about the purpose of life, the answer was simple and succinct: “Your purpose in life is to serve God and your fellow man, period. That’s it. That’s all you have to remember.” It was a lesson David Kennedy never forgot—a lesson that underscores his life and accomplishments as told in David Matthew Kennedy: Banker, Statesman, Churchman.
About the Author
Martin B. Hickman received his bachelor, master’s, and PhD degrees from the University of Utah and master of public administration from Harvard University. A professor of political science at Brigham Young University, he served as dean of the College of Social Sciences for twelve years and dean of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences for five years. He has also been an associate professor at the University of Southern California. For seven years he was in the U.S. foreign service with assignments in Hamburg, Berlin, and Hong Kong. He and his wife, the former JoAnn Emmett, have six children and reside in Provo, Utah.
Published by Deseret Book in cooperation with the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, 1987.