Kennedy to receive Alumni Award of Distinction

Former director of facilities management served community

Rhett Kennedy

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Alumni Association will honor Rhett Kennedy ’92, former director of facilities management at Pitt-Bradford, with its Alumni Award of Distinction.

Rick Esch ’83 will present the award during Commencement ceremonies at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 1.   

Kennedy spent nearly his entire career at his alma mater, giving exemplary service to both the university and the surrounding community.

“This is a true honor,” Kennedy said. “I will be forever grateful to my fellow alumni, many colleagues throughout the years and the countless students I’ve had the privilege to work and learn with during my career.”

After earning his Bachelor of Arts in communications from Pitt-Bradford, Kennedy chose to pursue his passion for student affairs work by earning a Master of Arts in student affairs in higher education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

His first professional role was as residence life and judicial coordinator at West Virginia Wesleyan College, where he implemented a new student conduct system.

He then returned to Pitt-Bradford as director of residential life and housing, overseeing residence life, judicial affairs, housing and summer conference housing. It was the first of numerous leadership roles he held at Pitt-Bradford in which he supported and mentored the students and staff under his care.

After serving in that role for three years, he became assistant dean of student affairs and director of housing. The university promoted him to associate dean in 2002, when he assumed additional responsibilities for health services, dining, Greek life, the ID Center and campus ministries.

Seven years later, the university named Kennedy director of auxiliary services for both the Bradford and Titusville campuses, adding even more responsibilities to his portfolio, including the Panther Shop, Mail Center and Marilyn Horne Hall. 

In 2020, after a national search, Kennedy brought his vast experiences in campus building management and his diligence to his new role as director of facilities management. Last year, he stepped down from that position for health reasons.

During his lengthy career at Pitt-Bradford, he also worked closely with his colleagues in other capacities. He was a Freshman Seminar instructor and guest lecturer, was the advisor for Alpha Phi Omega national service fraternity and was a member of the Sustainability Committee.

In 2003, he was the first member of Pitt-Bradford’s staff to be recognized with the Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in Service to the University, in part due to his work coordinating office relocations during large-scale construction and renovation on campus.

In the Bradford community, he served as a member of Bradford City Council from 2011-2015, overseeing the Bradford City Fire Department, ambulance services and Board of Health, and the Department of Property Maintenance.

He was also a lector at St. Bernard Church, former president of the Board of Directors of the Friendship Table, past president and member of the board of the Olean (N.Y.)-Bradford Area YMCA, chairperson of the board of the Area Transportation Authority of North Central Pennsylvania, and a member and past president of the Bradford Rotary Club.

The father of four sons coached the Bradford Area High School women’s tennis team and was a coach, referee and field maintenance volunteer for the Bradford Community Soccer Club. 

He and his wife, Kara, live in Bradford with their sons, Brent, Hugh, Rhys and Ward.