The Tabernacle Choir Blog

J.F.K. Nephew Tim Shriver Visits the Tabernacle & Sings with the Choir

56 years ago, John F. Kennedy spoke in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The September 26, 1963 visit would be his fifth and final one to Utah. While in Salt Lake City, he gave a 27-minute speech mostly devoted to foreign policy, but he also commended Utah’s high school graduation rate. He also praised the “Mormon” pioneers saying, “Of all the tales of America's pioneers and settlers, none is more inspiring than that of the Mormon Trail." His visit to Utah occurred just 55 days before his tragic assassination.

In the summer of 2019, Kennedy’s nephew Timothy Shriver was in Salt Lake City as the keynote speaker for the Utah Charter Network Symposium. Shriver leads the International Board of Directors of the Special Olympics. He is the Co-Chair of the National Commission on Social and Emotional Learning, and Chair of the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning.

During his keynote address, Shriver spoke about the power of inclusion, kindness, and building respect in our classrooms as well as our public dialog. He received a thunderous standing ovation from the more than 600 educators in attendance at The Grand America Hotel.

Tami Pyfer, on the Utah Governor’s staff and a member of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, arranged private tour of the Salt Lake Tabernacle for Shriver and guests. Following the tour, she escorted him to the Conference Center, the summer home of The Tabernacle Choir, where he was able to sing with the Choir in rehearsal. Speaking of the experience, Pyfer said “The only way to describe Tim's reaction after the rehearsal was sheer joy.”

In a hand-written note to the Choir’s general manager Scott Barrick, Shriver expressed his gratitude for the experience saying, “Thanks for the wonderful hour of joining the choir for rehearsal…I never dreamed I would get the chance and could never have anticipated the rigor, the discipline, and the beauty of the experience. A beautiful sound for the Lord in every way.”

Shriver is the son of Sargent and Eunice Kennedy Shriver (sister of John F. Kennedy). He received his B.A. from Yale University in 1981, his M.A. in religion and religious education from The Catholic University of America in 1988, and his Ph.D. in education from the University of Connecticut in 1996. He holds several honorary degrees and has received many awards such as 1995 Connecticut Citizen of the Year, Presidential Medallion from University of Illinois, and Walter Camp 2015 "Distinguished American."

Shriver has four siblings including former First Lady of California, Maria Shriver. He and his wife Linda have five children, and reside in Chevy Chase, Maryland.