Timothy P. Shriver, Ph.D.
Timothy P. Shriver, Ph.D.
Tim Shriver is a social leader, an educator, activist, film producer, and business entrepreneur. He is the Chairman of Special Olympics, and in that capacity he serves more than 4 million Special Olympics athletes and their families in 180 countries. He has helped transform Special Olympics into a movement that focuses on acceptance, inclusion, and respect for individuals with intellectual disabilities in all corners of the globe.
In his 17 years at the helm of Special Olympics, Shriver launched the organization’s most ambitious growth agenda leading to the recruitment of over 2 million new athletes around the world. He has worked with the leaders of China to initiate a thriving program in their country highlighted by the country’s hosting of 2007 Special Olympics World Games in Shanghai. He has also worked with world leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Bertie Ahern, Rafiq Hariri, Thabo Mbeki, Julius Nyerere, and Shimon Peres to advance the growth of the Special Olympics mission and vision while challenging nations to adopt more supportive and just policies. He has spearheaded programs in developing or war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Bosnia Herzegovina, and Iraq.
Shriver has also created exciting new Special Olympics programs in athlete leadership, cross-cultural research, health, education, and family support. Among them, Special Olympics Healthy Athletes® has become the world’s largest public health screening and education program for people with intellectual disabilities, and Special Olympics Get Into It®, together with Unified Sports®, promotes inclusion and acceptance around the world. In addition, he has worked to garner more legislative attention and government support for issues of concern to the Special Olympics community, testifying before Congress on a few occasions.
As part of his passion for promoting the gifts of the forgotten, Shriver has harnessed the power of Hollywood to share the stories of inspiration and change, co-producing DreamWorks Studios’ 1997 release, “Amistad,” and Disney Studios’ 2000 release, “The Loretta Claiborne Story.” He is Executive Producer of “The Ringer,” a Farrelly Brothers’ film, and “Front of the Class,” a Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie. He has produced or co-produced shows for ABC, TNT, and NBC networks, and made broadcast appearances on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Meet the Press, CNN, and Real Time with Bill Maher.
Before joining Special Olympics in 1996, Shriver was and remains a leading educator focusing on the social and emotional factors in learning. He co-founded and currently chairs the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the leading research organization in the field of social and emotional learning.
Shriver earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University, a Master's degree in Religion and Religious Education from Catholic University, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Connecticut. He is the recipient of numerous honors, including honorary degrees from Loyola University, New England College, Albertus Magnus College, University of Connecticut, Niagara University, University of Illinois, and Villanova University; the Medal of the City of Athens, Greece; the Order de Manuel Amador Guerrera of the Republic of Panama; the Connecticut Citizen of the Year Award; the U.S. Surgeon General’s Medallion; the Lions Humanitarian Award, and the Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award. In 2011 he was recognized by The Huffington Post as one of the top 100 Game Changers. He has authored articles in many leading publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and Commonweal Magazine.
Shriver is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on the Board of the WPP Group, LLC.
He and his wife, Linda Potter, reside in the Washington, D.C. area with their five children.