High School students from the Waldorf School of Garden City were extended a special invitation by Adelphi University this past Monday, October 24th to attend a lecture by one of Waldorf’s most distinguished graduates, Mr. Kenneth Chenault ’69, the Chairman and CEO of American Express. Mr. Chenault presented an address at Adelphi entitled “Corporate Social Responsibility.”
Prior to his lecture, Mr. Chenault toured his alma mater, spoke with teachers and administrators, and visited a few classrooms. He also had the opportunity to see many of the improvements that have taken place at the School over the past few years. In 2004, Mr. Chenault served as the Honorary Chair for the School’s first major capital campaign. “Thanks to Ken’s incredible generosity and leadership during that campaign,” said Susan Braun, the School Administrator, “we were able to raise funds to upgrade the School’s facilities, increase the Scholarship and Endowment funds, refurbish facilities at Camp Glen Brook (the School’s 250-acre farm campus located in Marlborough, New Hampshire), and significantly renovate the School’s Library.”
Mr. Chenault grew up with his sister and two brothers in Hempstead, New York. Seeking a caring environment and an education grounded in their values and beliefs, his father, a dentist, and mother, a dental hygienist, chose the Waldorf School of Garden City for their children’s education. After 14 years at Waldorf, Mr. Chenault went on to receive a B.A. from Bowdoin College and a J.D. from Harvard Law.
In January of 2001, he became CEO of American Express, where he has been credited with leading the company through the financial and psychological setbacks brought on by the World Trade Center attacks and ushering in a period of solid growth. Recognized by a wide variety of civic, social service, and community organizations for his public service leadership, he was awarded the Phoenix House Public Service Award, the Corporate Responsibility Award from the International Rescue Committee, and the Wall Street Rising Leadership Award, among others. Mr. Chenault is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also a member of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness which was created to provide non-partisan advice to the President on continuing to strengthen the Nation’s economy and ensure the competitiveness of the United States and on ways to create jobs, opportunity, and prosperity for the American people.
Mr. Chenault has remained active in the life of the Waldorf School. In 2004, he received the School’s Outstanding Alumnus Award.