Theodore Sorensen, 82, dies of major stroke
Theodore C. Sorensen, counselor and speechwriter for President John F. Kennedy and the founding board chair of the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life, died on Sunday at the age of 82 from complications of a stroke he suffered a week ago, according to an Oct. 31 New York Times article.According to an Oct. 31 ABC News article, Sorensen was a key aide to Kennedy during his 1960 presidential campaign and his counsel and speechwriter from 1960 to 1963.
Sorensen is closely associated with helping to coin the phrase, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country," in Kennedy's 1961 Presidential address, according to The New York Times.
Sorensen helped collaborate with Kennedy on his 1956 book, Profiles in Courage, which won Kennedy a Pulitzer Prize, according to The New York Times. Following Kennedy's assassination, Sorensen practiced law and politics.
During the final decade of his life, Sorensen became strongly involved with the Ethics Center at Brandeis.
Sorensen is the center's founding board chair, and served as chair of the center's advisory board until 2009, according to an Ethics Center press release on Nov. 1.
In 2009, the center renamed its flagship undergraduate fellowship the Sorensen Fellowship when he stepped down as the board chair.
According to the press release, "Naming the fellowship for Ted Sorensen was meant to be a permanent tribute to a man who was passionately committed to the ideal of public service."
The Sorensen Fellowship helps provide financial support for students who want to work overseas for organizations "committed to issues of peace, justice, human rights, sustainable development, and democracy," according to the press release.
According to the press release, "In the past two years, Sorensen Fellows have worked in such venues as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, Spirit of Youth Association for Environmental Service in Cairo, Egypt, and Experimental Theatre Foundation in Mumbai, India."
In an interview with the Justice, Director of the Ethics Center, Dan Terris said that his death of Sorensen will not affect the Sorensen fellowship, as it is an ongoing program of the center.
"His death will only affect [the fellowship] as he is no longer living to meet with the fellowship as he has in the past," said Terris.
Sorensen came to speak at Brandeis many times. Most recently, he spoke in 2009 in a talk about presidential inaugural addresses prior to United States President Barack Obama's inaugural address in January 2009.
In 2008 he spoke at Brandeis after the publication of his autobiography, Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History.
After Sorensen's death, University President Jehuda Reinharz praised Sorensen for inciting youth involvement in public service.
"Sorensen inspired generations of young people to pursue their ideals and embrace public service," said Reinharz.
He continued to write that "We are grateful that during the last 10 years of his life he chose to bring his wisdom, his experience, and his passionate quest for justice to Brandeis University as chair of the advisory board of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life,"
In the press release, Terris referred to Sorensen as "a source of guidance and inspiration for all of us at the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life.
He was also a personal mentor and friend who made his mark on my life with gentle prodding and generous support."
Terris said that Sorensen will be missed by the Ethics Center and that although he stepped down as the board's chair in 2009, he has remained an active member of the board.
"We will certainly miss him for his wisdom based on his experience and for his extensive network of talented people around the world who he has help bring to the centers activities, and we will miss him personally for his warmth," said Terris.