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Kevin Lessard collection


Kevin Lessard

Date range:

1969-2002, bulk 1990-2002

Call number:



This collection documents Kevin Lessard’s activities as the eighth director of Perkins School for the Blind from 1985 to 2002. The collection consists of awards, photographs, and documents, including correspondence and photographs with well-known figures such as President George H.W. Bush, First Lady Barbara Bush, and members of the Hilton family during his work with the Hilton Foundation. Lessard’s travels and international work and his work on the Perkins campus are included. 


8 boxes, 1 oversize (2 document boxes, 2 photo albums, 4 artifact boxes) ; 5.25 linear feet


Primarily English, 1 item in Arabic, 1 item in Thai

Processed by:

Susanna Coit, 2023

Processing notes:

A copy of The Faith of Helen Keller (Edited by Jack Belck, Hallmark Editions, 1967) was removed from the collection and returned to the Research Library collection.

Biographical/Historical note:

Kevin Lessard (1945-2023) served as the eighth director of Perkins School for the Blind from 1985 to 2002. Before coming to Perkins, Lessard graduated from Boston State College and received advanced degrees from Boston College and Boston University. He also received an Honorary Doctorate from the Dominican college in New York in 1990. 

Lessard came to Perkins in 1968 to work as a mobility teacher, eventually becoming the Mobility Supervisor and Coordinator of the Vocational Training Program in 1972. From 1970 to 1975, he worked as Tompkins Cottage Housemaster. He held a number of other roles including Coordinator in Instructional Programs and Coordinator of Psychology and Guidance Services in 1978-1979 and supervisor of the Adult Services program. He became Assistant Director in 1979 and led the re-accreditation of the school and developed the Severe Impaired Program in 1981. In 1985, he was named Director by the Board of Trustees and a member of the corporation along with his wife, Cynthia.

As Director, he secured the 25-year grant from the Hilton Foundation beginning in 1989, establishing the Hilton-Perkins Program that built on work in developing countries and laid the foundation for what is now Perkins International. This work took him around the world visiting schools for children with disabilities. During his 17 year tenure, he led several strategic initiatives including creating the Infant-Toddler Program, hosting the First and Second National Conferences on Deaf-Blindness, dedicating the Hilton Building (October 1994), and more. 

After retiring in 2002, Lessard continued to work with Perkins on special projects. In recognition of his work, he was awarded the Anne Sullivan Medal in 2003. 

Sources of information:

“Anne Sullivan Medal.” Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown MA. 

Kevin John Lessard, June 2, 1945-August 28, 2023.” MacDonald Rockwell & MacDonald Funeral Home, Watertown MA. 

Remembering former Perkins Director Kevin Lessard.” Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown MA.

Sweeney, Emily. “Lessard forged worldwide mission for Perkins.” The Boston Globe, January 12, 2003. 




It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Perkins School for the Blind, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that they are an owner of copyright. 

Credit line/Citation:

AG40 Kevin Lessard collection. Perkins School for the Blind Archives, Watertown, MA.

Scope and contents:

This collection documents Kevin Lessard’s activities as the eighth director of Perkins School for the Blind. The collection consists of awards, photographs, and documents. The collection includes documentation of Lessard’s travels and international work as well as his work on the Perkins campus. Correspondence includes planning related to the Hilton Building dedication, including correspondence with President George H.W. Bush, who attended and spoke at the event. There are records of the 1992 National Conference on Deaf-Blindness, where First Lady Barbara Bush gave remarks. Travel documentation includes reports and itineraries as well as Lessard’s passports containing visas. 


B1:F1 = Box 1: Folder 1

  • Series 1: Travel and International, 1969-2013
  • Series 2: Certificates, Awards, and Degrees, 1967-2003
  • Series 3: Administrative, 1984-2002
  • Series 4: Hilton/Perkins, 1989-2004
  • Series 5: Events, 1987-1999
  • Series 6: Memorabilia and Ephemera, 1980-2019
  • Series 7: Photographs, 1992-2006

The collection is arranged into seven series. Materials within the series are arranged chronologically when possible.

Series 1 contains documents, records, and photographs related to Lessard’s travel and international work. 

Series 2 contains awards and certificates awarded to Lessard, as well as some materials related to these honors. The series also includes his Bachelor of Science degree and an honorary degree from Dominican College. 

Series 3 contains administrative records including a proposal, a report, and two letters. 

Series 4 contains documents related to the Hilton/Perkins Program including correspondence, conference remarks, and publications. 

Series 5 contains records related to and photographs of events including the conferences, dedications, and political events.

Series 6 contains memorabilia and ephemera including souvenirs, clippings, and artifacts.

Series 7 contains photographs with well-known figures and students. 

Container list: 

Series 1: Travel and International, 1969-2013

  • B1:F1: Passports and Certificate of Vaccination, 1969-2005
  • B1:F2: Stamp of the Consular Office, Consulate General of the Republic of Poland, 1990
  • B7:F1: Cape Town, South Africa, 1990
  • B8:F1: Travel/International, 1990s
    • [Includes: Orebro, Sweden (1991) ; Uganda ; Sao Paulo, Brazil ; Beijing, China (Deng Pu Fang, son of Premier of China) ; Bangkok, Thailand ; Jerusalem ; Shirley Temple Black as United States Ambassador to Czech Republic, Prague ; Argentina]
  • B1:F3: Opening of the Perkins Brailler Factor, Braille for Africa Project, 1998 
  • B7:F2: Reception: New Perkins Brailler Facility in South Africa, 1998 
  • B1:F4: Trip to Saudi Arabia (Khaled Juffali), 1999, 2002
  • B1:F5: Internal Bulletin from Al-Qatta Al Adin Foundation [in Arabic], 2002-2013
  • B1:F6: Visit to Lebanon, 2004
  • B1:F7: Trip to Jordan and Lebanon, 2005
  • B1:F8: School for the Deafblind in Port Au Prince, Haiti, 2010 
  • B1:F9: Clipped photographs of Fidel Castro (Cuba) and King Adulla (Jordan), undated
  • B8:F2: Athens, Greece, undated
  • B8:F3: Haiti, undated
  • B8:F4: Ivy Green, Tuscumbia, Alabama, undated
  • B8:F5: Jordan and Lebanon, undated
  • B8:F6: Deafblind Program, Amman, Jordan, undated
  • B8:F7: Jakarta, Indonesia, undated
  • B8:F8: Malaysia, undated
    • [Includes: St. Nicholas School, Penang, Malaysia ; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia] 
  • B8:F9: Singapore, undated
  • B9: Panoramic photo of school in Uganda, undated

Series 2: Certificates, Awards, and Degrees, 1967-2003

  • B1:F10: Bachelor of Science degree, 1967
  • B1:F11: Dominican College graduation program, 1990
  • B8:F10: Dominican College, 1990 
  • B5: Dominican College Doctor of Laws medal, 1990
  • B1:F12: Massachusetts Senate recognition, 1997
  • B1:F13: Anne Sullivan Medal certificate, 2003
  • B6: Anne Sullivan Medal, 2003
  • B5: M.C. Migel Medal, 2006

Series 3: Administrative, 1984-2002

  • B1:F14: Report: Administrative Restructuring of Programs and Services…, 1984
  • B1:F15: Kevin Lessard appointment and resignation, 1985, 2002
  • B1:F16: “Echoes in Retrospect” introduction letter, 2001
  • B1:F17: Proposal: Educational, Instructional Materials and Curriculum Development Campaign for…State of Alabama, undated

Series 4: Hilton/Perkins, 1989-2004

  • B1:F18: Correspondence: Establishment of Hilton/Perkins Program, 1989 
  • B1:F19: Correspondence with Barbara Bush, 1991-1992
  • B1:F20: National Conference on Deaf-Blindness, Remarks of Barbara Bush, 1992
  • B1:F21: Hilton Building Dedication programs, 1994
  • B3: Conrad N. Hilton Building Dedication plaque, 1994
  • B1:F22: Correspondence with George H.W. Bush, 1992-1994
  • B1:F23: Building a Vision for the Future, 2004

Series 5: Events, 1987-1999

  • B1:F24: First Day Issue Julia Ward Howe Stamp, 1987
  • B1:F25: Manufacture of the 200,000 Perkins Brailler, 1990
  • B8:F11: National Conference on Deaf-Blindness [Barbara Bush], 1992
  • B8:F12: George H.W. Bush, 1994
  • B1:F26: Visit with Bill Clinton and Chris Jett, 1997
  • B1:F27: Donald H. Hubbs Children’s Center Dedication, 1999
  • B8:F13: Autographed photograph with Congressman Major Robert Odell Owens, undated 
  • B8:F14: CRC with Don Hubbs, Barron Hilton, Eric Hilton, Governor Bill Weld, undated
  • B8:F15: Senator Edward Kennedy at Perkins, undated 

Series 6: Memorabilia and Ephemera, 1980-2019

  • B1:F28: Wayne Gretzky autographed photograph, circa 1980s
  • B1:F29: Birthplace of Anagnos, 1987
  • B4: Commemorative plate from Ivy Green, Tuscumbia, Alabama, circa 1995
  • B1:F30: “Kevin’s Prayer,” undated, 2019
  • B1:F31: Clipping [in Thai], undated
  • B1:F32: Laura Bridgman memorabilia, undated
  • B3: Commemorative Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan stamp paperweight, undated
  • B1:F33: Council of Schools and Services for the Blind [COSB] collage, undated
  • B3: Writing nibs in inkwell, undated

Series 7: Photographs, 1992-2006

  • B2:F1: KL with Barbara Bush and unidentified man, circa 1992
  • B2:F2: King Abdullah, Jordan, 2006
  • B8:F16: With students, undated
    • [Includes: Chris Jett ; Patty Duke]
  • B8:F17: Other photographs, undated
    • [Includes: Stevie Wonder ; Frank Franke (German reporter) ; Jaimi Lard ; Yearly Hilton Conference ; Dalai Lama]

Related collections:

AG45 Perkins’ Directors’ Office Files. Perkins School for the Blind Archives, Watertown, MA.

AG125 Perkins Outreach/ International Photograph Collection, 1978-2007. Perkins School for the Blind Archives, Watertown, MA.


This collection was donated to the Perkins Archives by his wife in 2023. 

Subject headings:

  • Perkins School for the Blind.
  • Perkins School for the Blind–History.
  • Bush, George Herbert Walter, 1924-2018.
  • Bush, Barbara, 1925-2018.
  • Clinton, William Jefferson, 1946- .
  • Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
  • Hilton, Barron, 1927-2019.
  • Dominican University. 
  • Abdullah II, King of Jordan, 1962-.
  • Kennedy, Edward M. (Edward Moore), 1932-2009.

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