U.P. Has A New Visionary Leader

Robert Kelly has arrived and is ready to take U.P. to new heights. He is the first lay president of Oregon’s only Catholic university. In his inaugural address on Sept. 23, he told the audience, “We can be a beacon for the world.” He is the first African American to lead U.P. in its 121-year history.

President Kelly thanked students in his address saying, “You are hope-filled, energetic, kind and fun.” He also said, “We are here to discern what we are truly hoping for, what our hearts tell us is true, beautiful and good.”

Kelly’s speech was electric in the school’s sports dome. He has been serving in the post since July 1 and already has helped build a strategic plan. He was wearing the splendid, purple U.P. academic robe. He said that his hopes was high and that U.P. under his leadership will be nothing less than a community without violence and racism, a place where creation is cared for and people live in harmony. 

Kelly has a doctorate in philosophy, education policy, planning and administration from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs administration from the University of Vermont and a bachelor’s degree in arts and political science from Loyola University Maryland. 

Robert Kelly once served as vice president for student development and as adjunct professor of education at Seattle University.

He said the university can test ideas, absorb wisdom and disseminate truth for the good of the world. “What is the world you wish to create?” he asked. “Do you believe with all the obstacles in your way you can do it?”