Alumnus and Supporter Leaves Permanent Imprint on Campus
If You Seek His Monument, Look Around You
"I can still see Doyle Kelley marching with the Cowboy Band." The phrase was a common sentiment expressed across the Hardin-Simmons campus today as alumni return for Homecoming.
The 1951 HSU graduate died Wednesday in Houston. He leaves behind many friends and many lasting impressions.
Doyle Kelley's contributions to HSU probably lie most prominently in two of the most beautiful buildings on campus. Housed in the stately Johnson Building, the Kelley College of Business bears the name of Doyle and Inez Kelley.
Dr. Michael Monhollon is the dean of the Kelley College of Business and says the college has lost a great friend with the passing of Doyle Kelley. "He loved the business school and its students, coming to every awards ceremony, homecoming coffee, and honor fraternity induction he could," says Monhollon.
"He got to know a number of the students, helped some of them find jobs, and kept in touch with them." Monhollon continued, "On a personal note, I got to spend many afternoons with him talking about financial markets or the old Bibles and manuscripts he collected. I will greatly miss his enthusiasm and generosity of spirit."
The Kelleys made the generous gift in honor of their parents to secure the future of business education at HSU.
Doyle Kelly's legacy can also be found at the core of the magnificent Skiles Building. A circular corridor on the first floor of the domed building is covered with the portraits of former students, graduates, employees, and other historical figures of HSU who have distinguished records of achievements.
To have a permanent place of honor on the campus was a dream of HSU President Dr. Lanny Hall. Doyle Kelley was the alumnus who helped turn the plan into brick and mortar and today it is called the Kelley Hall of Leaders.
But of all Kelley's contributions to HSU, it has been said, perhaps one of his favorites lies in a low-slung, rather modest building on a small corner of the campus.
Despite its size, the building houses a larger-than-life historical icon of Hardin-Simmons -- itself a living, breathing entity of magnificent proportion. Anyone who has seen it has, no doubt, heard it as well. This brotherhood can be summed up in five simple words -- The World Famous Cowboy Band. Doyle Kelley was a member.
The building is filled with memorabilia. Worn black and white photos inside a showcase reveal the band's eight-plus decades of history. Just around the corner is a modest wall, but of great significance to Kelley.
Plastic cut-out letters name it the "Wall of Fame." On it are 14 oil paintings, by various artists, that depict some of the most significant contributors to the band's 87-year history. Doyle Kelley's portrait is among them. He contributed to the band, not only as a member, but later, as a supporter.
Doyle and Inez Kelley met while students at HSU, which Doyle attended on a scholarship for the Cowboy Band.
Kelley is a past chairman of the Board of Trustees, a 1998 recipient of the John J. Keeter Alumni Service Award, the highest alumni award HSU can bestow. He also received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from HSU in 2000.
Surviving Kelley is his wife Inez who was a member of the HSU Cowgirls as a student and has also served on the Board of Trustees.
Several years ago, the Kelleys entrusted Hardin-Simmons with the gift of a rare and valuable manuscript, the product of a South Arabian Jewish Scriptorium in the late 17th or early 18th century.
The scroll is on permanent display in a climatically controlled case in the Richardson Library.
"Hardin-Simmons has lost one of its most devoted alumni," says HSU President Dr. Lanny Hall.
"Doyle Kelley was a dedicated and generous supporter of this institution and was totally committed to HSU's success. As a student, alumnus, trustee, and donor, he was enthusiastic about his alma mater," says Hall. "The flags on campus are lowered to half-staff in memory of this wonderful example of a Hardin-Simmons University graduate. He will be greatly missed."