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A World of Good

A World of Good

Joanne Kelly and Bill Kelly Sr. lost their son, Bill Jr. ’93, during the September 11 attacks. That dark day caused unspeakable pain for their tight-knit family. But in the days and years that followed, many acts of kindness in response to the tragedy have proved to the Kellys that there is still a lot of goodness in the world.

“People are so wonderful. I can’t tell you how many people decided to do something so generous with money received in honor of their loved ones,” said Joanne. “It was miraculous how it brought out the best in so many.”

Billy, Joanne said, loved his time at Scranton. Because the University has had a large presence in the Kelly family’s lives over the years (three of his four sisters are also Royals), the family decided to honor Billy’s legacy with an endowed scholarship. (Bill is pictured at left.)

The William H. Kelly Jr. ’93 Scholarship is a need-based award for qualified students who display exceptional kindness, generosity of spirit and a genuine love of the outdoors, qualities Billy exemplified. While in discussions with the University, the family learned that some students who begin their education at Scranton struggle to finish due to financial circumstances that commonly reach a breaking point during a student’s junior or senior year.

“It was the perfect choice,” Joanne said of the scholarship. “I had three children in college at once. No one needs to tell me how hard that is.” 

There have been 19 Kelly scholars since 2004. The Bill Kelly Jr. Memorial Golf Classic, which celebrates its 15th year this fall, has primarily helped to fund the ongoing effort. Kathleen “Casey” 

Hamilton ’85, Billy’s sister, said the golf tournament allows family and friends to come together to celebrate her brother’s “life and the lessons he continues to teach all of us every day.”

“It is our hope that the recipients of Billy’s scholarship value the thirst for knowledge that the Jesuits embody and impart in all of us, that they continue the kindness and generosity which others recognize in them and that they always treat their fellow man justly,” said Hamilton.

Anthony Faso, a junior occupational therapy major from Walden, New York, is able to continue to pursue his education thanks to the scholarship. “I feel humbled and very grateful for the act of generosity by the Kelly family,” he said. “I am proud to be chosen to uphold the values represented in this scholarship, and in the life of Billy Kelly Jr. Unfortunately, college is very expensive and, often, personal finances can get in the way. It is comforting to know that there are scholarships such as this that can help students like me.”

Student recipients are invited to attend the tournament and enjoy the day with the family. “I want everyone to see the student they are helping,” said Joanne. “It’s a fun day, but I really want everyone to see the fruits of their labor.”

To date, family and friends have raised more than $725,000 as a direct result of the Bill Kelly Jr. Memorial Golf Classic. “The pain never goes away, but when we look at all of the good that has come out of it, it gives us peace,” said Joanne. “Knowing all of the great things that are going on in our son’s name got us all through everything together.”

Caption: Picture in the above right. The 14th annual Bill Kelly Jr. Memorial Classic on Oct. 9. 2015. Pictured are, from left to right, Maureen Donegan, Joanne Kelly and Meigan Kelly Keane '94. 

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