Eugene Cullen Kennedy and William Van Ornum: Renaissance Men

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Eugene Kennedy with fellow novelist and intellectual Norman Mailer

At eighty-five-plus years (But who’s counting the timeless work of a great man?), Eugene Kennedy—former Roman Catholic priest, theologian, philosopher, novelist, and, oh yes, compassionate psychologist—remains ever relevant and ahead of our times. As we approach the first anniversary of the Newtown-Sandy Hook massacre, with all the horrors and trauma engendered, Eugene Kennedy was way ahead of us, discussing the glory and pain of love, which are at the heart this tragedy we, in North America, shortly mark.

My connection with Dr. Kennedy has been indirect, having been employed, for nearly twenty-five years, by the publisher of his groundbreaking On Becoming a Counselor: A Basic Guide for Nonprofessional Counselors and Other Helpers (1977, 1990, 2001). Wikipedia holds that Kennedy has written over fifty other books. Fifty!

Dr. William Van Ornum has been my central long-time conduit to the career of Eugene Kennedy. I am grateful for this and much more. As Dr. Van Ornum departs, commencing November 1, 2013, the AMHF board of directors for its professional advisory board, the directors thank him for selfless service to the publishing program as director of research (a position held by only one other individual in the distinguished history of the foundation) as well as for contributing his vast intelligence, general culture, (like his mentor) compassion, and hands-on knowledge of the field to these endeavors. For nearly five years Bill has been the professional face of this organization. We wish him all success in his academic and personal lives.

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