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Longtime VGCC Dean Leo Kelly Retires

A retirement reception was held on Nov. 21 in honor of Leo Kelly, Jr. of Henderson to recognize his 37 years of service to Vance-Granville Community College. A veteran VGCC employee who worked under all of the college’s presidents, Kelly most recently served as Dean of Adult Basic Education (overseeing GED and Adult High School programs, among others) and head of the English as a Second Language program.

“Leo Kelly is the longest-serving full-time employee in the history of our college, and his dedicated leadership has made an enormous difference in the lives of so many people in our communities,” VGCC President Randy Parker said.

Parker announced that through the VGCC Endowment Fund, friends of the college were honoring Kelly by establishing a new fund in his name. VGCC employees and area residents will now be able to make contributions to the Leo Kelly Fund, which, when fully funded, will provide endowed scholarships to worthy students.

Kelly earned a B.A. at North Carolina Central University and a master’s degree from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. He was teaching in public schools in Virginia when, in 1970, he heard that Vance County Technical Institute — the school that became VGCC in 1976 — needed someone to teach typing at night in the college’s extension division. In 1971, Kelly started working at the college full-time as assistant director of adult education, and he later became Dean of Continuing Education. Under Kelly’s leadership, VGCC’s GED and Adult High School programs have grown to become the third-largest in the state.

Active in his community, Kelly serves on the Maria Parham Medical Center board of directors and has been involved in leadership roles with the Henderson Family YMCA, Vance County Arts Council, Vance County Chamber of Commerce board of directors, local State Employees Credit Union advisory board, Cotton Memorial Presbyterian Church and the Community Relations Council for the Kittrell Job Corps. Kelly is also a former member of the Henderson City Council. He is a graduate of the Leadership Vance program. Kelly has also taken on statewide leadership roles on the North Carolina Community College Adult Education Association board, the Adult Basic Education Leadership Advisory Board for the community college system, and the American Association of Community Colleges Council on Black American Affairs (North Carolina chapter).

Above: Leo Kelly, Jr. (left) shakes hands with VGCC President Randy Parker at a reception at the college’s Civic Center in honor of Kelly’s retirement. (VGCC photo)