Dr. James Lehr Kennedy passed away Tuesday, February 15, 2022, from a battle with cancer. Dr. Kennedy was an influential leader here at Ohio Northern University, and the new engineering building is named after him. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics at the College of Wooster, and then went on to get his master’s in Business Administration and Economics from The Ohio State University (tOSU). After receiving his master’s degree, he then taught at tOSU for 12 years. In 2017, Ohio Northern University awarded Kennedy with an honorary doctorate in business for his dedication to the University.
Not only was Dr. Kennedy the great-grandson of the founder of ONU, H.S. Lehr, but he also served on the Board of Trustees for 23 years, and achieved becoming a Life Member of ONU’s giving society, The Henry Solomon Lehr Society. To become part of this Society, you must “give $1,000 or greater during the fiscal year of June 1-May 31. Members of the Lehr Society are the University’s strongest supporters, setting a philanthropic example. Lehr Society members enjoy benefits such as a campus-wide parking pass, athletic and alumni event passes, tickets to select Freed Center productions, and a special annual recognition dinner.”
His philanthropic donations have supported many campus events and made ONU feel more like home for Polar Bears. Besides campaigning for the new engineering building, he donated the beautiful glass sculpture in the James Lehr Kennedy Engineering Building’s lobby known as the “Tower of Inspiration”; he and his team also oversaw the documentary that helped shine a light on the past 150 years of Northern, and he also helped to support this year’s tree-lighting ceremony and festivities.
The staff at Northern Review sends thoughts to friends, family, and all those feeling the loss of Dr. Kennedy during this difficult time.