As Nancy Kelly carried the mace during the graduation procession in May 2018, little did she know that Interim CEO and Academic Dean Steven Minkler would later announce during the ceremony that she has been officially named professor emerita*. After a 34-year career at the college, most recently as professor and program coordinator of accounting, Nancy retired from teaching later that month.
“Under her leadership, the accounting program has consistently had one of the highest graduation rates due to her commitment and dedication to her students. Her methodical and organized approach, along with superlative advising, has led to consistent success,” Dean Minkler announced.
Instead of a favorite college memory, Nancy highlights the accomplishments of her students. “When former students contact me, and I hear about the positive direction their lives have taken, and when they thank me, I feel so proud that I had a small role in creating that positive change. That is what Middlesex Community College does, it helps change people’s lives,” she said.
Nancy has enjoyed a career of “firsts.” She was the first female commercial loan officer at Colonial Bank in New Haven, the first college professor to participate in the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) Externship program, and she was part of the first faculty team to design and teach Distance Learning courses. She has consistently looked for new and different opportunities throughout her career—including ways to help others.
Nancy was able to achieve many of these firsts in part because of the great mentoring she has received throughout her career. Early on, she had role models in the banking industry who advised and supported her as she worked to establish the first loan review department, and when she went on to counsel companies that were in financial difficulty and became a corporate lending officer. Later, she received guidance from peers and professionals affiliated with the various boards and associations she supported. By collaborating, networking, and getting involved, she was able to be at the forefront of various emerging trends and opportunities.
Throughout her 34-year career at MxCC, Nancy has participated on numerous committees that helped shape the accounting program and improve transfer opportunities for MxCC graduates with the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, the University of Connecticut, and various private colleges. She also served on the statewide committee for Award of Collegiate Credit for the American Institute of Banking, and was a faculty representative on the Regional Advisory Board.
As the beneficiary of mentorship, Nancy is committed to giving back by mentoring and volunteering as much as possible. She is very active with the United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, as a volunteer tax preparer, and as a trainer of other volunteer preparers. She also has been a mentor in the Minority Mentorship Program and has served on the board of directors of Connecticut Trails Council of Girl Scouts. She hopes her former students take on this spirit of involvement, mentoring and giving back, so they can help positively shape their generation—and beyond.
Nancy earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of New Haven and a bachelor’s degree in education from Southern Connecticut State University. Her future plans are to stay involved in community work and to learn new things she always wanted to do. She is taking golf lessons, bridge lessons, and hopes to take classes in genealogy. She will have more time read, visit family, babysit her grandchild, and travel, including a trip to Ireland with her husband in August 2018.
*Emeritus status is a special recognition granted to retiring employees who have been at the college for at least 15 years, and who, during the course of their careers, have distinguished themselves in providing meritorious service.