The Profile Q&A

Holy Cross Magazine featured nationally recognized high school math teacher Dan Kennedy ’68 in the Winter 2011 issue’s Profile story. Kennedy uses his well-tuned intellect and sense of humor to open the world of mathematics to students in his classrooms at the Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tenn., as well as through the textbooks he has helped author through the years. We couldn’t resist asking this former WCHC disc jockey some additional questions about his hobbies, his heroes and his famous sis.

Q: Do you like Sudoku puzzles?
A: I never really got into them. They’re too much the same from puzzle to puzzle. Also, knowing they’re generated by a computer is off-putting. I really like a good, clever crossword puzzle. Not ones where clues are state capitals and the like, but ones that use clever word plays. My favorites are the English cryptic crosswords.

Q: Did you like the movie A Beautiful Mind?
A: Yes. I liked that it was about a math person. But I liked even more the play Proof. It was made into a movie, too.

Q: What is your motto?
A: I often close letters and e-mails with this little phrase I learned from a friend: “Keep Smiling.” Sometimes he said it even if he was angry; he’d clench his teeth together and say, “Keep smiling.”

Q: You vacation every summer in Ireland. Can you sing “Danny Boy”?
A: I can. “Danny Boy,” especially, puts a tear in your eye. I have quite a collection of Irish music, and there are many, many singers that do it much better than me. My favorites are a version sung by Méav Ní Mhaolchatha, and one by an Irish chanteuse named Aoife Ní Fhearraigh.

Q: Are you related to anybody famous?
A: My sister is actress Mimi Kennedy. She played the hippie mom in the TV show “Dharma and Greg,” and was recently in the movie In the Loop. She just finished the new Woody Allen movie Midnight in Paris.

Q: Who is your hero?
A: I was hired at Baylor by headmaster Herb Barks. He had such a high level of enthusiasm. He was more of a philosopher than an educator, and I’ve always been inspired by that.