Bill and Tomiko Kennedy Memorial Endowed Presidential Scholarship
The Bill and Tomiko Kennedy Memorial Endowed Presidential Scholarship was established to benefit the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. The Kennedy Family donated the scholarship in 2008 to honor Bill and Tomiko Kennedy. The endowment supports upper-level undergraduate students studying Chinese language, literature, culture or history, with preference to students who are learning Chinese as a second language.
The seven Kennedy children bestowed the endowment in recognition of their parents’ commitment to send all their children to college, in spite of significant financial sacrifices. During a time when most Texas high school graduates did not attend college, all seven of the Kennedy children did.
On August 10, 1958, Bill and Tomiko drove to the Buckner Children’s Home, a Baptist orphanage in Dallas, and left with five siblings. When they left the orphanage with the children, Bill remembers telling his wife, “although they didn’t know how to rear a cat, they would not take those kids back to the orphanage”. In the years to follow, the couple adopted one more child and added a birth child to complete the family of nine.
Bill retired from being Postmaster in Woodsboro, Texas. Tomiko taught school for 45 years in the same town. They have been active in charitable and social organizations after retiring. They both earned their degrees from institutions other than The University of Texas, but two of their children are Texas Exes. Tomiko died on April 24, 2010 at the age of 90.
The family states that the Bill and Tomiko Kennedy Memorial Endowed Presidential Scholarship is in recognition of the couple’s lifelong commitment to educate each of their kids and that Bill often told them as they were growing up that there were no limits to what they could accomplish.