Paul Okay. Kelly, a Kelly Writers Home staple who financed its renovation, dies at 81


Paul Okay. Kelly, a 1962 Board member and School graduate whose dad and mom bear the Kelly Writers Home identify, handed away earlier this month on the age of 81. (Picture by Al Filreis)

Paul Okay. Kelly, a 1962 board member and faculty graduate who reworked the Kelly Writers Home, died earlier this month resulting from problems from COVID-19.

KWH School Director Al Filreis introduced Kelly’s passing in an electronic mail to the KWH group on March 8. Kelly, 81, funded the renovation of the KWH constructing and donated to KWH annually, which enabled her to supply mission grants to college students and set up an endowed chair. Kelly remained concerned with the group after her tenure on the Board of Administrators from 1997 to 2010, visiting typically and discovering new methods to help the KWH group and develop its attain.

“For these of us within the [KWH] group particularly, it’s virtually inconceivable that an individual of such vitality, such dynamic mental vitality and enthusiasm – which the various adventurous (and roughly fixed) concepts have sought to make [KWH] higher and extra responsive as an area and group – maybe may now stand nonetheless, ”Filreis wrote.

Kelly found the KWH in 1996 whereas working with the administration to determine a brand new mission that might have a optimistic affect on folks from all corners of the Penn group. After her first go to, Kelly pledged to make a contribution that will remodel the home, which was in-built 1851.

In 1997, Kelly funded the renovation of the constructing, which might later be named Kelly Writers Home, in honor of her dad and mom. Kelly and his spouse, Nancy Kelly, subsequently helped the KWH develop bodily, making a two-story addition to the again of the home known as the “Kelly Household Annex” for his or her kids and grandchildren in 2014.

KWH Director Jessica Lowenthal mentioned in an interview that Kelly’s contribution to KWH went past monetary funding. Kelly, who chaired KHW’s advisory board, was a supporting presence, and he noticed the worth in creating an area for college students to search out group with one another on campus, he mentioned. she declared.

“Everybody at [KWH] felt Paul’s presence whether or not they knew it or not, ”Lowenthal mentioned.

In 1999, Kelly proposed and funded the KWH Fellows Program, which invitations three famend authors to host a studying and dialogue of their work for an undergraduate seminar every spring. Visitor authors embody Susan Sontag, Joyce Carol Oates, and John Ashbery.

Three years later, Kelly donated $ 3 million to Penn, which helped set up an endowment fund to create a chaired chair within the English division. Filreis has held the place of Kelly Household Instructor since its inception.

Kelly additionally made donations to determine the School’s Director’s Discretionary Fund, which permits Filreis to supply college students with grants to help journal concepts, writing tasks and journey. Kelly has supported webcast improvement and the creation of a web based archive of seminar and workshop recordings, Filreis mentioned in an interview.

Whereas serving on the board’s finance committee, Kelly was concerned in an initiative to help undergraduate monetary help by means of an identical program, the place people contributed cash proportionately to others. donors, Filreis mentioned.

Kelly was President and CEO of Knox & Firm, an funding banking agency. He has additionally served as Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Huntsman Program in Worldwide Research and Enterprise and a member of the Penn Arts and Sciences Board of Overseers and the Athletics Board of Overseers.

Filreis mentioned Kelly was a detailed pal, including that he typically acquired recommendation from Kelly on KWH operations.

“He was very curious about what the scholars have been doing and he cared so much about the way forward for the [KWH]Stated Filreis. “It is a terrific loss, a private loss.”

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