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Name and title: Mary Kennard, vice president, general counsel and secretary to the board of directors Age: 51 Father of his university: It was George Washington who first proposed creating a great “national university” in the nation’s capital. Congress chartered American University (A.U.) almost a century later, in 1893, and it began admitting graduate students in 1914. The first degrees were awarded two years later. Undergraduate programs were launched in 1925. The university sees its mission as preparing the public servants of the future to serve their country. As of fall term 2005, the university counted 5,782 undergraduate and 3,395 graduate students. Its Washington College of Law counts 1,413 J.D. candidates at present. “We also have a large international component-not just faculty and students, but we also have many international study-abroad programs. And these students bring that experience back in their final year of college,” Kennard said. “We’ve also helped to build private universities in other countries, one in the United Arab Emirates, called the American University of Sharjah, and the other in Nigeria, called ABTI American University. We helped them design their infrastructure and accreditation and develop exchanges for faculty, students and administrators.” Daily duties: Kennard’s team does considerable work in the intellectual property area, “in part to do with the use of the Internet, and also because we’re in the information business. We’re concerned about how we communicate and what we communicate,” she said. “One of our ongoing problems is file-sharing and illegal downloading of movies and music” by students using A.U. Internet accounts, she said. “We take this very seriously and tell our students that we enforce our policies. We also give them a lawful way to get new music.” Students are briefed on university policy during orientation. Violators lose their accounts and get sent to “copyright school” before they can get their e-mail accounts back. Institutional identity theft is a problem for the school. Said Kennard, “There are a fair number of fake degree mills who want to use our name or some variation on our name. So we spend a fair amount of time battling these Internet sites and have been successful in having ownership of their sites transferred to us by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.” Kennard reports to Interim President Cornelius Kerwin and the American University Board of Trustees. Legal team and outside counsel: Kennard supervises four other attorneys, including an intellectual property specialist. In addition, the firm sends work to Morrison & Foerster’s Washington office. Kennard turns to Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman for real estate advice, and to Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart; Holland & Knight; and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld for labor and employment matters. In addition, she calls upon students at the law school for law clerking duties, for course credit. “I remember how hard it was to find a job when I was in law school,” she said. “I want to be sure that our students have the chance to put into practice what they’re learning.” Trouble at the top: A.U.’s former president, Benjamin Ladner, resigned after an investigation of his personal and travel expenses. To get to the bottom of the matter, the university’s board of trustees brought in outside counsel from the Washington office of Los Angeles-based Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, and from the Washington firms Hogan & Hartson and Arnold & Porter. “It was a long year-you can quote me on that!” Kennard said. Route to present position: Kennard received her undergraduate degree from Boston University and J.D. from the Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law in January 1980. She went on to receive an LL.M. degree from the George Washington University Law School in February 1982. “I thought I wanted to be a law professor,” she said. “But while I was at [George Washington] I got a part-time job at the National Association of College and University Attorneys. That’s when I found out that attorneys practice law at educational institutions. So I got myself to a campus, and I’ve been on campuses ever since.” Kennard assumed her position in 1995, succeeding Tony Morella, an outside attorney who’d handled A.U.’s legal matters for some 30 years. “So mine is the first in-house law office that is both part of campus and totally supported by the university,” she said. In-house booster: Kennard is president-elect of the Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association, where she’ll begin her tenure as president in January. She’s a big promoter of that aspect of the legal profession. “You need to know a lot about a lot of things,” she said. “Also, I get to work with my client on a project over a long period of time, from the idea to the implementation of the idea, which you don’t get to do in other work. [As] in-house counsel, you have to understand the company’s business. That is the most exciting part of the job-being an active part of the business of this university.” She even teaches a class about being an inside counsel. “Having done it myself for 26 years, I can say that in-house counsel offices are a wonderful and viable option for the practice of law.” Personal: Besides her work with the local corporate counsel organization, the Philadelphia native is active in the National Association of College and University Attorneys. Otherwise, look for her “in the air or in the water,” she said. “I’m still in the process of trying to get a pilot’s license. It’s always been a dream, but I had to wait until my sons were old enough not to need me. And as for water, I swim. I’m trying to work up to a mile.” Last book and movie: “This summer I read all 12 of the Stephanie Plum novels, by Janet Evanovich. They’re fast.” Her “last movie in an actual theater” was The Chronicles of Narnia.

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