Sunday, February 25, 2024

W&M Remembers James Sands “Jim” Kelly, an Advisor, Ombudsman and Ambassador

James Sands 'Jim' Kelly
W&M remembers James Sands ‘Jim’ Kelly, a devoted alumni and staff member of the College. (WYDaily file)

WILLIAMSBURG — The College of William and Mary (W&M) is remembering a former student, staff member and dedicated alumni. 

James Sands “Jim” Kelly passed away on Thursday, July 22, 2021. He was 91.


At the age of 17, Mr. Kelly enrolled at W&M; a university in which he would end up calling “home.”

While attending W&M, Mr. Kelly was an active member of the school community. He graduated in 1951 as the senior class president, president’s aide, and member of the track team.

After graduating, he was commissioned into the U.S. Marine Corps and later accepted a job with the Dupont Company.

In 1954, Mr. Kelly returned to his alma mater as the executive secretary of W&M’s newly-formed Society of the Alumni. There, he established the expanding alumni program.

In 1971, he became assistant to the president, and in 1978, he accepted the position of secretary to the board of visitors. 

During his years at the College, Mr. Kelly served as an advisor, ombudsman and ambassador to five W&M presidents.

W&M is remembering Mr. Kelly for his passion and commitment to the school. 

“Jim Kelly was a treasured member of this community. A true statesman, he served William & Mary with dedication, grace and honor for 48 years as a student, alumnus and staff member,” William & Mary President Katherine A. Rowe said, “His legacy as an ombudsman and a trusted adviser for five presidents and nine rectors permeates every area of our campus. His love for alma mater is storied. He and his kindness to all will never be forgotten.”

Throughout his life, Mr. Kelly was also an active member of his community and church as well as a devoted father and grandfather.

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