Monsignor William A. Kerr, a leading human rights activist and a highly regarded friend of Rwanda, has passed on. He died on Wednesday while hospitalised at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital (TMH).
The former president of LaRouche College in Pittsburgh, United States of America, Kerr, 68, suffered a stroke during mass. According to the Rwandan Minister of Education, Daphrose Gahakwa, Kerr was a close friend of Rwanda.
“It is extremely very sad, Rwanda and the Ministry of Education have lost a good friend,” said Gahakwa.
She emphasized; “Rwanda has lost a good friend, and the world has lost a true visionary. We are extremely saddened by this loss.”
The seemingly saddened Gahakwa added; “when he was admitted to the hospital, the President’s Office and my Ministry were informed; we kept following up his health closely until the last minute.”
Senator Joseph Karemera, back then when he was Minister of Education was one of the people who worked closely with Kerr.
Karemera said; “Kerr contributed significantly to the development of our human resource; during his time at LaRouche, he facilitated over 130 Rwandan students to study at the university.” He added that Kerr advocated for Rwanda at different forums.
Before his death, Kerr was the Executive Director of the Claude Pepper Centre at Florida State and was also highly known as a man with countless friends around the world.
Significant to that is that US Vice President Joe Biden called several times in an attempt to talk to Kerr during his final days.
Their friendship dates back to the 1980s, when Kerr was vice president for university relations at Catholic University of America, while Biden was in the Senate.
Kerr earned a doctorate in diplomatic studies and a master’s in American studies at the Florida State University. He also served as executive director of Pope John Paul II Cultural Centre in Washington, D.C.
Kerr is famously remembered when Ted Bundy, a serial killer sought him out to be his spiritual counselor while the latter was on death row.