On Friday, John D Keenan, a native of Salem and a descendant of Rebecca Nurse, one of the women convicted and hanged for witchcraft in 1692, was inaugurated as the 14th president of Salem State University. In his remarks, President Keenan referenced his heritage and it’s influence on his life and career.
“As a descendent of Rebecca Nurse, one of the women convicted and hanged for witchcraft in 1692, and being trained as a lawyer, I am sensitive to the need to provide adequate due process and to fight for social justice. I have dedicated my life to public service in many instances fighting for social justice – whether for marriage equality, transgender rights, or in-state tuition for “dreamers”.
I think of people like Rebecca Nurse and find it is my duty to be the voice of those who cannot speak out for themselves and to advocate for those who need someone in their corner. I brought this commitment with me to Salem State where I promise to do the same for our students.”