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Brian J. Kelley Memorial Remarks by Chris, Class of 2010

The following remarks were given by IWP alumnus Chris during a Dedication Ceremony in honor of the late Professor Brian J. Kelley on September 7, 2012.

Good Evening everyone.

My name is Chris. I graduated with the class of 2010 here at the Institute, and am currently the Treasurer of the Alumni Association.

I would like to thank the Institute, and especially Dr. Lenczowski, for not only putting on this event but also for turning his vision of having a school that focuses on American Grand Strategy or, as he likes to say, “using all the instruments of the orchestra,” while also attempting to cultivate a spirit of service and civic duty among its students. On behalf of the Alumni Association, I would also like to thank the family, friends, and faculty that came out tonight to not only mourn, but to honor and celebrate a great man… Brian Kelley. 

I first met Brian back in autumn of 2008, only 4 short years ago, and I immediately fell in love with all that he was teaching. At the time, I was fairly new to the world of Espionage and international intrigue (or as some professors here aptly name it, “Es-pi-o-nash-y.” Not that I’m a seasoned veteran by far, but I knew it was a career path that I wanted to pursue. My love of “the game” was further solidified over the next few months of Brian’s class. I think I can speak for many of his students when I say that Brian’s course in Counterintelligence Operations was the one of, if not the, highlight of their course work. Brian’s passion for counterintelligence, and more importantly his passion for the safety and security of this nation, was palatable. You know how you can look a person in the eyes and you know that what they are saying is the truth? Well, with Brian, it was clear to us all. He truly felt honored to have served this nation over the years, and he was passionate, despite being treated unfairly by the community, at conveying that knowledge to his students, at least the parts he could talk about. He had so much to teach us; we had so much to learn.

Brian’s passion for his tradecraft and country was contagious! If you were meeting him for the first time, you could just tell by listening to him that he was an American Patriot. And if you were lucky enough to have worked alongside him or studied under him, you knew it to be the case. I honestly don’t believe that I would be on the path in life that I’m on now had it not been for the good fortune of getting to know Brian. He inspired hundreds of his students to take up the call to serve something greater than themselves. I feel very fortunate to have known him.

One of the things that made Brian so endeared here at the Institute was not only did he have what many of us thought to be the “coolest of agency jobs” but the man himself, the very fabric, the character of the man himself. Brian was a giving man. He cared for his students and we all saw that. I know of more than a few occasions where Brian would help a student out with a ride, give advice, offer condolences as well as write recommendations, not to mention his annual field trip to Foxstone Park. And on a personal note, he helped me out on more than one occasion with some alphabet soup of Federal agencies. I’ll always be grateful for that. He taught us to go above and beyond helping your fellow man. Brian always seemed to be there for us.

As many of you know, the Institute was founded “to fill a major national need for professional education in statecraft and national security affairs,”counterintelligence being one of them. To this end, the Institute had to recruit some of the best and brightest scholar-practitioners that the nation had to offer. These men and women would not only have to inform and educate their students, but inspire their students. “Inspire them to recognize that there are causes higher then oneself, and that service to others… and to a cause such as peace with freedom and justice, is an honorable and ultimately fulfilling career path.”

Brian embodied that spirit, that inspiration, that sacrifice, and all his students, both from the distant past and from the not so distance-past, knew it. Brian often comes up, many a time, in conversations with my fellow alumni, whether it be talking about our favorite professors or remembering some outlandish story about some antics from a foreign spy that got him or her caught.

Throughout his career, both with the Air Force and at the Agency, Brian was honored with many awards for his service. The Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, the Agency’s Intelligence Achievement Medal, the Agency’s Commendation Medal, and the “CIA Collector of the Year” award presented to him by the Agency Director himself. He was certainly talented at what he did for a career.

It is, however, for his teaching and mentoring that Brian will be best, and most appropriately, remembered here. His annual trip to FoxStone Park and his seemingly always wait-listed course on Counterintelligence Operations challenged and inspired scores of students of intelligence, both young and the young at heart, who were fortunate enough to get a seat.

Again, we are here tonight to celebrate Brian’s life, and all that he meant to each of us, as father, a grandfather, a husband, a professor, a colleague, a  mentor, and as a friend. Brian wore many hats. It came with the job you could say, but throughout all of it you always knew that he was a good man – the kind of guy you could rely upon… the kind of person that wouldn’t let you down… the kind of patriot that would always be there at your side.

I miss Brian.

I miss his smile, that contagious laugh that filled the room. Again, if you were fortunate enough to know him, then you knew that he liked to laugh and tell jokes.

Professor Kelley may be gone but of course the lasting affect that he had on those around him will never fade away.

Thank you.

Class of 2010