Neumann Honors Friends, Family of Brendan Kelly for 30 Years of Scholarships

Conner Kolek, Sharon Kelly, and Richard Kern.
Image via Neumann University.
Conner Kolek, Sharon Kelly, and Richard Kern under the banner that honors Brendan Kelly in Neumann University’s Mirenda Center.

On November 18, Neumann University honored the legacy of deceased alumnus Brendan Kelly, whose family and friends have worked for more than three decades to keep his memory alive on campus. 

Members of the Brendan P. Kelly ’87 Committee and the Kelly family were recognized at the President’s Thanksgiving Reception, Neumann’s annual event that salutes supporters for their continued generosity and commitment to the university. 

Brendan Kelly, a member of the Neumann University class of 1987, died in December 1988. Two years after his death, his friends and family launched the Brendan P. Kelly ’87 Memorial Scholarship with the blessing of Sharon Kelly, Brendan’s mother.

In the past 31 years, the fund has grown to more than $425,000 and has supported 90 Neumann students.  

According to Dr. Chris Domes, Neumann’s president, “Fundraising in Brendan’s name began after his passing with grassroots efforts, including basketball tournaments, beef and beers, personal donations, t-shirt sales, golf outings, and social events to cement Brendan’s legacy in an institution that embraced him wholeheartedly.” 

Conner Kolek, senior marketing major and a recipient of the Kelly Scholarship, spoke to the crowd about what the financial assistance has meant to him. 

“This scholarship, along with working jobs throughout my college experience, has made it possible for me to graduate with no student loans,” Kolek said, eliciting enthusiastic applause from the crowd. “I am so grateful to the Kelly family and the Brendan P. Kelly Scholarship Committee for this humbling award. My college career would not have been the same without you.” 

Later in the program, Richard Kern, one of the founders of the Kelly Committee and a teammate and close friend of Brendan during their time at Neumann, shared memories of his deceased classmate. 

“I would like to thank Mrs. Kelly and the entire Kelly Family for sharing Brendan with us while he attended Neumann,” Kern said. “Brendan was a good friend and teammate to all of us, and we loved him very much. His personality was larger than life.” 

For more information about the Brendan P. Kelly ’87 Memorial Scholarship and other awards available to current Neumann University students, visit

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