The University of Portland’s Board of Regents recently announced the appointment of Dr. Robert Kelly as the University’s 21st president. He is the first lay president and the first African-American to lead the University in its 121-year history. Dr. Kelly succeeds Rev. Mark L. Poorman, C.S.C., who served for ten years at the University of Portland, seven of which were as president. Most recently, Dr. Kelly served as vice president, special assistant, and clinical professor at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland.
Rev. William Lies, C.S.C., Superior of the Province of the United States of Priests and Brothers, expressed his support for Dr. Kelly. “From the very beginnings of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Blessed Basile Moreau, our founder, welcomed all to join us in our mission of education—a work of Resurrection as he called it. We are proud to welcome Dr. Kelly now as our first lay president and commit to working closely with him for the continuing success of this wonderful institution. May God bless him, his family, and his tenure at the University of Portland.”
Dr. Kelly holds a Ph.D. 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.
In addition to serving as vice president for Student Development and adjunct professor of education at Seattle University, he was chief of staff to the president of Union College; associate dean of students, and assistant to the vice president for student affairs at the University of Vermont; and assistant director of residential life at Colgate University.
In reflecting on his appointment, Dr. Kelly said, “I come to this position after much discernment and prayer, and I do not take this responsibility lightly. I walk in the footsteps of many wonderful Holy Cross priests and brothers who have preceded me in their service on The Bluff. And I pledge to the Congregation, and to all who call UP home, my commitment to ensuring that our Catholic, Holy Cross mission endures and thrives.”