William J. Kennedy Writers Institute Endowment Fund exceeds goal

Literary organization raises funds to honor Kennedy, its founder and executive director

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William Kennedy

ALBANY, NY (01/31/2018) (readMedia)-- For immediate release

The William J. Kennedy Writers Institute Endowment Fund at the University at Albany has exceeded its goal.

More than 50 donors have pledged gifts ranging from $50 to $5,000, with more than $110,000 raised so far. The original goal was to raise $90,000 to honor the Writers Institute founder and Pulitzer Prize-winning author's 90th birthday on Jan. 16, 2018. The fundraising effort for the Kennedy endowment fund is ongoing, in collaboration with The University at Albany Foundation, the not-for-profit philanthropic arm of UAlbany.

"I'm honored and humbled," said Kennedy, whose acclaimed books have had a transformative impact on the city's life, lore, and literary culture, ight refreshments, "It started 35 years ago with an idea I had to bring the world's greatest writers to UAlbany. We began a remarkable literary conversation that continues today."

Kennedy is the founder of the New York State Writers Institute, which marks its 35th anniversary this year. Both milestones will be celebrated at a special event on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. at Albany City Hall.

There will be speeches by elected officials, songs performed by Albany Pro Musica, a reading from Kennedy's Roscoe by members of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild, remarks by Kennedy, cake and a rousing "Happy Birthday To You" from all in attendance. The event is free and open to the public.

"This is a watershed year for us and we're honoring Bill's vision and the legacy of our enduring literary organization with a remarkable series of spring events," said Writers Institute director Paul Grondahl.

Contributions can be made at www.albany.edu/giving/kennedy/