Mary Kennard was the vice president and general counsel for American University for 23 years, from 1994 until her retirement in July 2017. She also had served as secretary of the university's Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2000 and from 2006 to 2013.

Mary has served as a senior administrator at both public and private colleges and universities. In addition, Mary has served as the chief development officer for both the University of Rhode Island and American University, and has been an instructor at the University of Pittsburgh, University of Rhode Island, and the Washington College of Law at American University. Mary is a frequent lecturer at national conferences on law and higher education administration, and co-anchored and produced a Telly Award winning video training tape in conjunction with the College and University Personnel Association (CUPA-HR).

Mary was the 2008-2009 president of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) with over 3,000 attorney members nationally. She was the 2007 president of the Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association (WMACCA - predecessor to ACC NCR), and in 2016 completed two terms as a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC).

In May 2013, she received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Rhode Island. In 2012, Mary was the recipient of the WMACCA Corporate Counsel Career Achievement Award, the first female recipient of this award from her in-house peers. In April 2011, she received the North Star award from the Washington College of Law at American University and the In-House Counsel Award from the Legal Times. In May 2009, she was honored by Boston University with its Alumni Distinguished Service Award. In May 2008, Mary received the Lawyer of the Year Award from the Women's Bar Association of Washington, D.C. In September 2007, she was recognized as a "Top Washington Lawyer" by the Washington Business Journal. She is also a past award recipient of the "Stars of the Bar" by the Women's Bar Association of Washington, D.C.

Mary attended Boston University and received her undergraduate degree in applied science, with honors. 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.

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