Below is a reflection that IWP student Chance Johnson shared at the “American Traitors: Fathers and Sons” event on October 7, 2011.
At Professor Kelley’s wake, I heard his family say how much he received from teaching us, how much he enjoyed it and felt accomplishment for teaching the next generations. I can only say that as a student, I felt every bit of enjoyment, of growth and accomplishment for being his student.
The comments on his memorial page, and the attendance at his wake attest to the fact that he meant much to many. As one of his students, I remember Professor’s Kelley’s patience as a teacher, encouraging his students to form the answers to critical questions.
Professor Kelley had a charm and a twinkle in his eye that often went along with his famous humor. In fall 2010, I unfortunately dropped Prof. Kelley’s class when I started a new job. He assured me that it was all right, but that he would remember me as the guy who cost him $8000 that semester!! So when I signed up for his class this semester, I expected he would give me a hard time. Sure enough, I did receive some good natured ribbing… it was well deserved.
He was also a mentor to his students. This semester, we would walk the same direction after class, and discuss my career interests and goals. I enjoyed these brief walks.
The best trait of a good teacher is to provide a good example. And even in his passing, his example and his lessons can continue to guide students to make the right decisions at the right time.
I thank you, his family, for allowing me to speak, and most of all for supporting Professor Kelley as he spent time with us lucky students 3 hours a week every fall.