Santa Clara Magazine is published in print for alumni and friends of the University. It is updated weekly on the web.
Beloved former mayor Dennis Kennedy ’61, whose passion for the future of Morgan Hill was as much a hobby as a livelihood, died after a 10-month battle with brain cancer on March 28, 2016, at his home in east Morgan Hill with his son, Matthew Kennedy, by his side. Before becoming mayor of Morgan Hill in 1992, Dennis spent several years influencing the city’s growth control measures that continue to determine at what rate the city will grow. Those who knew him best say he lives on through his leadership legacy in recreation services, which makes Morgan Hill the unique, tight-knit community that residents enjoy. As mayor, Dennis was a relentless advocate for the use of redevelopment funds to build public recreation facilities that remain highly popular and even integral to the character of Morgan Hill. In December 2015, despite his declining health, Dennis appeared as the honored guest at a ceremony held by city officials to rename the Morgan Hill Dennis Kennedy Aquatics Center. Dennis, as mayor in 2003, led the effort to develop the Aquatics Center as a premier swimming facility with the help of the city council and RDA. A professional mechanical engineer by trade, Dennis worked for IBM for 25 years before embarking on a public service career that would make him a South County legend. He later worked for the construction firm Parsons Corporation for about seven years as a project manager. His résumé of volunteer leadership and community service work is exhaustive. He was an American Leadership Forum Silicon Valley senior fellow, a member of Rotary Club of Morgan Hill, and past president of the Morgan Hill Downtown Association and the Morgan Hill Sister Cities committee. He was the winner of the 2007 Morgan Hill Leadership Excellence Award. In 2015, he was honored by Gavilan College with the Lifetime Community Spirit Award. Dennis served as mayor of Morgan Hill from 1992 to 2006. After he retired as mayor, Dennis worked as a consultant and continued volunteering for the community. He was a member of the Morgan Hill Times editorial board for several years. Dennis reentered the political stage in 2013, when the board of directors of the Santa Clara Valley Water District appointed him to fill the seventh seat on that governing body. He completed the term of exiting SCVWD Director Don Gage and won election to the seat in November 2014. On Nov. 4, 2015, Kennedy resigned from the SCVWD board due to health complications related to a brain tumor. He was diagnosed with the tumor in June 2015.He was a popular and effective leader, who cared deeply about people and a great mayor who served in a transitional period.