The youngest child of Joseph P. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy was born February 22, 1932 in Brookline, Massachusetts. While completing his law degree at Harvard University, Kennedy's political career began when he was named as manager of his brother John F. Kennedy’s Senate reelection campaign in 1958.

After helping to manage John's 1960 presidential campaign, Ted served for one year as Assistant District Attorney in Suffolk County, Massachusetts before winning election to the U.S. Senate in 1962 at the minimum age of 30. He continued to serve in the Senate as a representative of Massachusetts for over 46 years, focusing his career on labor issues, and social programs, including student financial aid.

During his long political career, Senator Kennedy maintained a close relationship with Northeastern University, beginning on June 20, 1965, when he received an honorary Doctor of Public Administration. He then served as a member of the Northeastern University Corporation from 1965 until 1990. Following his service to the Corporation, Senator Kennedy demonstrated his continued interest in Northeastern through numerous visits to the campus, particularly in connection with his advocacy for student financial aid. He spoke at student rallies, heard personal student testimonies, and held a press conference and a senate committee field hearing at Northeastern whenever student financial aid programs had been threatened by presidential or congressional proposals.