Honoring Donald P. Kennedy

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved chairman emeritus, Donald P. Kennedy. Those who knew him will recall his kind smile, his knack for making people laugh, or his nearly unbeatable golf game. But, perhaps most of all, he will be remembered for his generosity and his exemplary integrity and leadership.

D.P. Kennedy served the company his grandfather founded with remarkable distinction for more than 60 years. During this time, the company grew from a single office in Santa Ana, Calif., to a FORTUNE® 500 company with hundreds of offices around the world. He did it by picking great people, setting a course and allowing people to succeed in their own way. He was tough but never mean, smart but never condescending. He led with humor and grace and always found time for fun.

Learn more about his remarkable life below.

  • 1930: At the age of 12, he made the first of nine career holes in one.
  • 1939: He becomes a member of Stanford University's NCAA champion golf team.
  • 1943: Served in naval intelligence.
  • 1946: Married Dorothy "Dodo" Suppiger.
  • 1948: Joined First American's predecessor, Orange County Title Company.
  • 1949: Passed the bar exam.
  • 1951: Promoted to vice president of First American.
  • 1958: Promoted to executive vice president of First American.
  • 1960: Served as president of the California Land Title Association.
  • 1963: Appointed president of First American.
  • 1983: Served as president of the American Land Title Association.
  • 1986: Named Title Person of the Year by the California Land Title Association.
  • 1989: Inducted into the California Building Industry Hall of Fame for his contributions toward the advancement and professionalism of the building industry.
  • 1993: Appointed chairman of the board, as First American moved stock to the New York Stock Exchange.
  • 1994: Received the Orange County Sports Hall of Fame's Ralph Clark Distinguished Citizen Award.
  • 1995: Received the University of California, Irvine Real Estate Sumigarden Award in recognition of his lifetime achievements and impact on the real estate industry.
  • 1999: Had Chapman University's Donald P. Kennedy Hall, home of the university's law school, named after him.
  • 1999: Named Man of the Century by Orange Coast Magazine.
  • 2002: Received the Paul Harris Fellow Community Recognition Award for Business and Professions from the Rotary Club of Orange.
  • 2003: Named Director of the Year in the category of Corporate Growth by the Forum for Corporate Directors.
  • 2004: Named one of the Hottest 25 People of Orange County by OC Metro Magazine.
  • 2004: Honored as the first recipient of the Exemplary Leadership Award presented by the Orange County Business Committee for the Arts.
  • 2007: Honored by the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana, CA with the dedication of the Dorothy and Donald Kennedy wing, a 30,000 sq. ft. expansion that includes two galleries, and indoor courtyard, sculpture gardens, and a 300-seat auditorium.

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