Featured Story

Patrick Kenny, ’89, has been recording moments in people’s lives since childhood, when his father brought home a video camera one Christmas that Kenny used to videotape his brothers, Edward, '91, and Brenden, '92, playing football in the backyard of New Vernon, N.J., home. This interest brought him to Niagara University as an English/communication studies major, where he learned the world of broadcast journalism under the mentorship of former professor Robert Crawford.

“Professor Crawford had a unique ability to motivate his students to meet deadlines while at the same time jumping into the boat with them to help with a project and, most importantly, encouraging them to explore and discover and pursue their passion," Kenny said.

After graduation, Kenny was a production assistant on television commercials in Manhattan and a freelancer before starting work in the printing industry. He earned a master’s degree in telecommunications and information management at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering a decade later and launched a new career in computer technology and sales.

But he never lost his passion for video communication. In 2023, Kenny started Great Point Productions, a company that specializes in capturing life stories through professional video interviews. Like the historic lighthouse on a remote beach on Nantucket Island for which the company is named, Kenny hopes to “guide the storyteller to tell a powerful story that can be shared with generations to come."

The focus on personal stories was inspired by his father, as well. William Kenny, a decorated World War II veteran, was among the soldiers who liberated the infamous Dachau Concentration Camp. His story was documented through an interview conducted by the Shoah Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making audio-visual interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust.

“When I first viewed my father's life story for the Shoah Foundation, I was happy that my children, who would not get the chance to know him, could learn about his entire life, especially the sacrifice he made for our country,” Kenny said.

 Kenny’s initial work was with veterans and people with incredible immigration stories, but he soon realized that everyone has a story to tell. He has documented those of a former CEO and Vietnam veteran who used his influence to help build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.; a woman whose experience of the 1967 Newark riots inspired her to advocate for affordable housing; the great-grandchild of a couple who migrated to California from Oklahoma after their farm was devasted by the Dust Bowl in the 1930s; and gallery owners who spend their off-season traveling worldwide for inspiration and to create art of their own.

"There are so many people I met with that have done extraordinary things, but I have also found that everyone has a story,” Kenny said.

Because of his appreciation for veterans and first responders, Kenny volunteers to capture their life stories. He also runs free programs at public libraries in the New York Metropolitan area that guide people to capture and preserve a life story using just their smartphone and a list of questions.

“My mission is to capture and help others capture life stories so they can be preserved for generations to come,” he said. “I hope that these stories inspire future generations to appreciate the struggles, obstacles, and successes of their family members.”