Trustees select Florida Atlantic University's seventh president

John Kelly succeeds Mary Jane Saunders, who stepped down in May

John Kelly.
John Kelly. (Photo courtesy of Florida Atlantic University)

BOCA RATON, Fla. – The Florida Atlantic University's Board of Trustees selected their seventh president on Friday.

John Kelly, Ph.D., succeeds Mary Jane Saunders, Ph.D., who stepped down as FAU's sixth president in May 2013.

"I am privileged to have been selected as the next president of FAU," said Kelly. "It was a long and open process, and I am honored that the Board of Trustees unanimously chose me to lead FAU."

Kelly was the vice president of economic development at Clemson University, where FAU officials said he was tasked with developing and implementing university policy, strategic planning, hiring strategies, communication and budgeting.

"Today marks a great day in the history of FAU," said Anthony Barbar, chair of FAU's Board of Trustees. "We are proud of our selection of Dr. Kelly as our leader, and we are confident that his vision will guide FAU to its next level of greatness."

Since January 2007, Kelly has served as executive director of the Clemson University Restoration Institute, where university officials said he built a team to educate students and direct research in energy systems.

In addition, Kelly had overall responsibility for the public service mission of the university and served as the state of South Carolina agency head of "Clemson University Public Service Activities," including the S.C. Experiment Station, Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service, Regulatory Services and Livestock Poultry Health, with programs in 46 counties.

Officials said Kelly also oversaw Clemson University Undergraduate Service Learning and had administrative responsibility of numerous institutes and centers.

Kelly earned his doctoral and master's degrees from Ohio State University and his bachelor's degree from Clemson University, university officials said.