FLBOG Unanimously Confirms Reappointment of FAU President

President John Kelly

FAU President John Kelly

By brittany sylvestri | 3/28/2019

The Florida State University System’s Board of Governors today unanimously confirmed the reappointment of Florida Atlantic University President John Kelly. After completing an initial five-year appointment, Kelly was appointed for a further year, the longest appointment extension allowed by the state.

In recommending Kelly’s appointment, Anthony Barbar, chair of the FAU Board of Trustees, said the president’s influence on the university has been transformational.

The president embraced the concept of performance funding metrics and challenged the entire university to address its deficiencies head-on, he said.

In the five years since Kelly arrived at FAU, the university has seen increases in the percentage of incoming freshmen who were in the top 10 percent of their high school class, the percentage of those freshmen who academically progress to their second year and the percentage of students who graduate in four years.

“Dr. Kelly set a goal for FAU to be the fastest improving university in America,” Barbar said. “With results like these, plus many more, I challenge anyone to say we aren’t meeting that goal.”

Kelly was named FAU president by a unanimous vote of the FAU Board of Trustees on Jan. 17, 2014, becoming the university’s seventh president. 

He oversees an institution of more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students on six campuses along more than 100 miles of Florida’s east coast. One of the largest employers in South Florida, FAU has more than 3,000 employees, including 1,000 dedicated faculty members, and an operating budget in excess of $800 million. The university has an annual economic impact of more than $6.3 billion and is conducting millions of dollars’ worth of funded research in critically important fields, such as drug discovery, biotechnology, ocean engineering and marine science.

Kelly began his academic career in 1982 as an assistant professor at Texas A&M University. Three years later, he went to Clemson University, rising through the ranks to become professor and department head by 1991. He was named vice president for public service and agriculture in 1997 and vice president for economic development in 2010. During his 28 years at Clemson, the university advanced from 78th to 20th in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of all public universities.

Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree from Clemson and both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. In 2017, he received the Clemson Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor for a Clemson graduate. He is married to FAU First Lady Carolyn Kelly, and they are the parents of Carly and Stella.