As the Executive Director of Catholic Relief Services, Kenneth F. Hackett leads one of the largest international assistance and development agencies in the world. Founded in 1943 to address the needs of Eastern European refugees fleeing the ravages of World War Two, today it serves the needy in over 80 developing countries around the globe.
Kenneth Hackett began his career of service following graduation from Boston College and graduate studies at both New York University and the University of South Carolina. He first joined the Peace Corps and was stationed in Ghana where he served as an advisor to an agricultural cooperative. He later worked on a United Nations development project on Lake Volta.
Following the Peace Corps, Mr. Hackett joined Catholic Relief Services and went to Sierra Leone as Program Director. After three years in West Africa, he returned to the agency's headquarters in New York where he served in the Africa Regional Office. He also continued his education with graduate studies. Then, in 1975, he was named Regional Director, traveling extensively throughout the world to work on various relief programs. Among the challenges he managed was overseeing the relief operations in Ethiopia, the largest operation in the agency's history.
In 1985, Mr. Hackett was named the Director of External Affairs, overseeing the fundraising, diocesan relations, and awareness divisions of the agency. In 1987, he returned to the field as a representative in the Philippines. Five years later he returned to Africa during the Somalia crisis to become the Director for East Africa.
Mr. Hackett was named as Executive Director for Catholic Relief Services in 1993. Under his guidance, the agency has received numerous awards, including the 1996 Milch Award for Excellence by Loyola College of Maryland, and the J.J. Norris Award.
Siena College recognizes Kenneth Hackett with an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.