Former Obama speechwriter Cody Keenan to speak on campus


Daily file photo by Zack Laurence

Cody Keenan speaks on campus in May about his experience working with former President Barack Obama. Keenan is coming to Northwestern on Tuesday.

Allyson Chiu, Campus Editor

Cody Keenan (Weinberg ’02), a speechwriter for former President Barack Obama, is returning to campus next week to speak on the Obama legacy.

Keenan will join Medill Prof. Peter Slevin, who authored a biography on former first lady Michelle Obama, next Tuesday in Harris Hall for a panel discussion, which is sponsored by Contemporary Thought Speaker Series.

After joining the Obama campaign in 2007 as an intern, Keenan followed the former president to the White House, becoming deputy director of speechwriting. Six years later, Keenan was promoted to director of speechwriting, a position he stayed in through the end of Obama’s second term.

Weinberg junior Ben Zimmermann, co-chair of CTSS, said he is excited to hear about Keenan’s behind-the-scenes take on Obama’s presidency.

“Cody was obviously at the center of Obama’s eight years in office and should be able to shed some great light on his administration and his legacy,” Zimmermann said.

Keenan, who was raised in the Evanston area, came to Northwestern as a pre-med student but ended up majoring in political science. He began his government career as an intern in the office of then-Sen. Edward Kennedy before being accepted to Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Zimmermann said he hopes Keenan’s connection to the University as a former Wildcat will inspire students who attend the event.

“He’ll be able to really relate to students and students can really see how this very education can help prepare them for something like becoming the chief speech writer for the president,” he said.

Tickets are not required for admission; instead, people will be seated on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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