Published: April 13, 2021

Event will bring together two former congressmen, including CU system president, to talk about friendship across the aisle


Politics need not be divisive. Sometimes bipartisanship—and even friendship—can happen and that is the focus of an event happening this week.

Two politicians turned university presidents, including University of Colorado President Mark Kennedy, will virtually meet to discuss bipartisanship and their enduring friendship as part of an ongoing series, “Bipartisanship (and Friendship) Happen!”

Kennedy will speak with his former colleague Marty Meehan, University of Massachusetts Amherst president, as part of this series which brings together accomplished and dedicated public officials to discuss their determination to extend the ties of shared enterprise and friendship across the divisions of recent times.

University of Colorado President, Mark Kennedy & University of Massachusetts President, Marty Meehan

University of Colorado President, Mark Kennedy & University of Massachusetts President, Marty Meehan (Center of the American West)

This virtual event, which is hosted by the Center of the American West at CU Boulder and moderated by Patty Limerick, the center’s director, will be held April 15, 2021, at 12 p.m. MDT, 2 p.m. ET. Registration for the event can be found here.

Prior to becoming the CU system president, Kennedy, a Republican, was the president of the University of North Dakota and served in the U.S. House of Representatives, first for Minnesota’s second congressional district and then for its sixth congressional district. 

Meehan, a Democrat, has served as the UMass president since 2015. Prior to that, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Massachusetts’ fifth congressional district.

“You learn a lot about a person when you travel with them, particularly overseas. Marty and I really became friends when we traveled the Middle East together as congressmen. While we don’t always agree on issues, I respect and appreciate his ability to look at all sides of an issue and think critically about a solution. He is also a man with deep integrity and a strong sense of public service,” said Kennedy.

And Meehan agrees: 

“I am looking forward to a conversation with Mark, my friend and former congressional colleague, with whom I enjoyed working even though we often had different views on issues. Mark was and continues to be a person who loves a good debate rooted in reason but underpinned by respect for the ‘other side’s’ perspective. I’m sure we will have a lot to talk about regarding the current state of political discourse and potential for bipartisan action on the challenges facing our nation,” said Meehan.

Learn more about the event, including how to register, at the Center of the American West’s website.