Carolyn Kelly has 18 years of experience in leadership roles at the federal, state, regional and local levels. Prior to moving to Florida, Mrs. Kelly was director of the South Carolina Coastal Program and the first woman to hold this prestigious position. For nine years, she oversaw all aspects of the program, including harbor deepening port expansion and beach renourishment, all Coastal Regulatory permitting, and off-shore issues and initiatives.
During the time period of 1995 to 2005, Mrs. Kelly was a civilian with the U.S. Coast Guard in the role of Chief of Natural Resource Damages. As an accomplished leader, she was given the extensive responsibility of managing a $1 billion trust fund for natural resource damages as a result of oil spills in the area encompassing the Arctic Circle and American Samoa.
Mrs. Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree in her passion, Marine Science. She furthered her education at Clemson University and obtained a master's degree in Natural Resource Economics. Prior to moving to Florida, she received a South Carolina Senate resolution for outstanding service to the state and was named one of the most influential women alumni in the book, "Women and Clemson University."
As First Lady of Florida Atlantic University, Mrs. Kelly focuses on creating economic partnerships through relationships with business leaders, elected officials, not-for-profit organizations, the community at large, and donors representing all six FAU campuses. Her goal is to unite the strengths of the university through collaboration and innovation with the South Florida region and beyond.
In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cultural events, culinary activities and most of all spending time with her family. She resides in the Eleanor R. Baldwin House on the Boca Raton campus with her husband, President John Kelly, and daughters Stella and Carly.