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Donation Adds To Kelly Family Legacy At Tech

SOCORRO, N.M. April 6, 2011– A prominent family and New Mexico Tech officially created a new endowed faculty position Wednesday, April 6, in Socorro.
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University president Dr. Daniel H. Lopez and Mike Kelly sign the document officially creating the John Kelly/Alumni Endowed Faculty fund Wednesday in Socorro.

Mike Kelly – representing his parents John M. and Esther L. Kelly and his siblings – and university president Dr. Daniel H. Lopez signed the official document creating an endowed faculty position in the Petroleum Engineering Department.

The John Kelly/Alumni Endowed Faculty fund includes more than $550,000 from the family and $500,000 of matching funds from the State of New Mexico.

“My father always supported the university his entire career,” Mike Kelly said. “We're calling it the ‘Kelly/Alumni’ endowment because hopefully we can get more donations from other alumni.”

Lopez said the endowment can be used for a current faculty member’s salary or to attract new faculty.

“This gives us more flexibility as we replace or add to the faculty base,” Lopez said. “As we move more aggressively to obtain private support, having these examples of major donations will encourage others to do the same.”

The family has a long history of supporting New Mexico Tech. John Kelly earned his bachelor’s in mining in 1936 and a professional degree in petroleum engineering in 1937. During World War II, he served as State Geologist and Director of the Bureau of Mines (now the Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources). He worked in the oil business for more than a decade before serving as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Mineral Resources under President John F. Kennedy from 1961 to 1965. He then returned to the petroleum industry as a consultant. New Mexico Tech awarded Kelly an honorary doctorate in 1963.

John Kelly also served on Tech’s Board of Regents from 1975 until his death in 1977. During those years, Kelly successfully lobbied the state legislature to provide funding to the university for the creation of the Petroleum Recovery Research Center.

The building was officially named the John M. Kelly Building upon its completion in 1978, then rededicated with new signage in November 2001, as the John M. and Esther L. Kelly Building.

Mike Kelly earned three degrees from New Mexico Tech and served on the Tech Board of Regents in the 1990s. He is an assistant professor in the Petroleum Engineering Department.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech