John Kelly (engineer)

John Kelly (engineer)

John Kelly, PhD, is a senior Irish academic, writer and administrator. A former Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at, and Registrar of, University College Dublin (UCD), he is the Executive Director of the Ireland Canada University Foundation and Chairman of the Scholarship Board of the O'Reilly Foundation and of the Council of the "Friends of Bethlehem University in Ireland".

University career

Kelly pursued a bachelors degree in engineering (chemical specialisation) at UCD, and, graduating in 1957, worked in industry in Ireland and the UK from 1957 to 1963. He then returned to UCD as a College Lecturer, and pursued advanced studies, obtaining his PhD in 1968. He was a Senior Fulbright Scholar at the University of Maryland from 1969 to 1970. Kelly was promoted to Senior Lecturer at UCD in 1976, holding that post until 1985, and during this period was elected three times as Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture. He was Visiting Professor at the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1982.

Kelly became a member of the Governing Bodies of UCD and Dublin City University in 1982, remaining on the former until 1998 and the latter until 1987. He was elected by the Governing Body of UCD to the Senate of the National University of Ireland, of which UCD is a constituent university, in late 1982, and was co-opted to two further terms (from 1987 and 1992), and elected to another five-year term by the NUI's Convocation in 1997.

Kelly was also director of a UCD industrial development facility.

In 1986, Kelly commenced office as Registrar (one of the most senior officers) of UCD, and when his term of office ended, he was appointed Professor of Chemical Engineering. Kelly was made an Honorary Life Fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland in 1990, and a Fellow of the Irish Academy of Engineering in 2000. Leaving the regular staff of UCD, he has been emeritus professor since 2000.


Kelly has co-authored or authored more than a hundred technical and profesional articles or book chapters, and one book, as well as letters and a leader article in the Irish Times. He has also been editor or joint editor of multiple journals.

Other roles

Kelly led a European Community delegation to the Engineering Faculty of the University of Jordan from 1981 to 1986, and sat on Ireland's "National Board of Science and Technology" from 1982 to 1986. He helped found and since chairs the Irish organisation, the "Association for Higher Education Access and Disability" (AHEAD).

Kelly has also worked with the "Universities of the Capital Cities of Europe", the "European University Industry Forum", the then "Committee of Rectors of Europe", the "Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology" and Directorate-General XXIII of the European Union.

He was appointed as Chairman of the Irish Aid Advisory Committee by the Minister of Foreign Affairs (of Ireland) for 1993 to 1997.

Kelly was appointed in 1994 as the first executive director of the Ireland Canada University Foundation, founded by Dr. Craig Dobbin in 1993, a role he continues to hold. Kelly was the founding president of the irish Fulbright Alumni Association from 1995 to 1999, and was appointed as founding executive director of the Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange ("the Irish Fulbright Commission"), one of the 50 or so Fulbright Commissions, a role he held from 1997 to 2000 [The Irish Times, 7 November 1997, retrieved from April 2008] .

In the late 1990's, Kelly was invited to become a member of the Scholarship Board of the O'Reilly Foundation, a personal charitable trust established by billionnaire media magnate Tony O'Reilly, and in 2001, he became the second Chairman of that body, a role he still holds.

He is a member of the board of CHC Helicopter Corporation since 1999, and was a member of the board of the Ireland Newfoundland Partnership from 2001 to 2006.

Kelly also chairs the Dispute Resolution Committee of National University of Ireland, Cork, since 2000, and the "Council of the Friends of Bethlehem University in Ireland", which has recently launched a national campaign for its fundraising foundation, since 2005.

Personal life

Kelly is married and lives in Dublin.


* Ireland Canada University Foundation: Board of Directors: Professor John Kelly, a detailed profile (retrieved from [] April 2008)


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