At the core of Dr. Ronald (Ron) B. Kelly’s teaching was his ability to inspire students. Dr. Barry Beckett knows first-hand the positive impact Dr. Kelly – a Professor Emeritus of the University of New Brunswick’s Saint John campus – could have on a student.
“I was given the opportunity to study under the supervision of Dr. Kelly and, thanks to him, became the first student to obtain a PhD having completed all of the work in Saint John under the supervision of a Saint John faculty member,” said Dr. Beckett, Registrar Emeritus of UNBSJ. “Dr. Kelly taught organic chemistry to hundreds of undergraduate students, many of whom were inspired to pursue careers in chemistry.”
Upon his passing on July 13, 2008, Dr. Kelly left a legacy gift that will help inspire future generations of UNBSJ chemistry students. The Ron Kelly Memorial Scholarship in Chemistry will help graduate students pursue their studies in the field of chemistry, with a focus on natural products research. A total of $6,000 will be awarded annually.
The five inaugural recipients of the scholarship are Caitlyn Carpenter, Katie Ellsworth, Andrew Flewelling, Haoxin Li and Taryn O’Neill. The scholarship will help each of the recipients in very different ways from paying tuition to attending international conferences.
“Receiving the Ron Kelly Memorial Scholarship will enable me to present my research at the International Congress on Natural Products Research in New York City in July. I will be able to network with fellow Natural Products Researchers from all over the world,” Caitlyn said.
For Andrew, the scholarship allows him to continue his work in Saint John. “I look forward to staying at UNBSJ to study towards my PhD and am grateful for the opportunities this scholarship offers me.”
Dr. Kelly’s road to becoming a professor took many turns before coming to UNB. Dr. Kelly grew up in Rothesay and after graduating from high school, taught for two years before joining the Royal Canadian Air Force as a navigator in 1940. He served through the remainder of World War II and was discharged in 1946 with five medals and campaign stars. After the war, Dr. Kelly turned his attention to education earning a Bachelor of Science degree with honours, a Master of Science and, in 1953, obtained his PhD, all from UNB. He went on to study as a Beaverbrook Overseas Scholar at London University in England, and then as a National Research Council Post-doctoral Fellow at Queen’s University.
In 1955 he began his career as a chemist working for both Merck and Co., and the Upjohn Co., before accepting an associate professorship at UNB’s Saint John campus in 1967. He retired in 1985 after a distinguished career.
Dr. Eddy Campbell, president of UNB, said the university is proud Dr. Kelly’s values and achievements will be preserved and passed on through the scholarship.
“Dr. Kelly made many significant contributions to UNB and helped numerous students achieve their goals,” Dr. Campbell commented. “It’s fitting this scholarship will continue his legacy of inspiring young minds well into the future.”
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