International Humanitarian With Local Priorities, Mrs. Virginia Kirkwood, to Speak at ESU’s Winter Undergraduate Commencement Exercises
Mrs. Virginia Kirkwood, an international humanitarian with local priorities, will be the keynote speaker for East Stroudsburg University’s undergraduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, December 14, at 10 a.m. in Koehler Fieldhouse. Mrs. Kirkwood earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology/anthropology from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1964 after attending Mexico City College for her junior year.
Mrs. Kirkwood has done extensive work in women’s health, literacy and education around the world. Her great passion has been attempting to help people in developing countries since she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkey in the mid-1960s. She was also the director of the Peace Corps in Thailand for three years in the early 1990s.
A speaker of three languages, Mrs. Kirkwood is a director of The Kenan Institute-Asia, a Bangkok-based group working in major development projects throughout Thailand. She also serves as a director on the National Peace Corps Advisory Board and as a director of World Education, a Boston-based group that works on HIV/AIDS and women’s health issues and education projects worldwide.
Mrs. Kirkwood has also done extensive work with the Special Olympics, including having served as the chairwoman of the board for Pennsylvania Special Olympics, a program that serves mentally challenged athletes. She is also the founder of the Pakistan and Thailand Special Olympics and worked as an International Consultant for Special Olympics in Nepal, China and the Philippines.
Closer to home, she is a director/owner of The Shawnee Group which owns the Shawnee Inn, Shawnee Mountain, The Shawnee Playhouse, and other enterprises. She is proud that the Shawnee Inn provides free meals for local people in need during the winter, having served thousands of meals in the last four years. She is the producer of The Shawnee Playhouse and each year produces many free community concerts at Shawnee. She was also the president of the Pocono Mountains Chamber of Commerce and is the founder of the Women in Business organization in Monroe County.
Mrs. Kirkwood has been happily married for 47 years to Charles Warren Kirkwood, chairman of the Shawnee Group. The couple has five beloved children, all married with children of their own. Mr. and Mrs. Kirkwood reside in Shawnee-on-Delaware, Pa., and are proud supporters of East Stroudsburg University.