Kelley Commons dedicated

By Destiny Smith

May 5, 2014

Missouri Western’s Student Government partnered with the Kelley family to create a new landmark on Western’s campus in memory of James B. Kelley -- the Kelley Commons. On April 25, the SGA put together a small social gathering to dedicate and officially open the Kelly Commons, located off the West side of the Blum Student Union, for students use. The Kelley Commons was made possible from the love that the Kelley family has for this university as well as the people that attend Missouri Western. This is not the first landmark the Kelley family has helped fund or been a part of. In 2007, University Plaza was also funded by the Kelley family. University Plaza sits between Blum and Murphy Hall, and has become a main focal point on campus, thanks to the large bronze griffon statue and fountain it is comprised of. Western President Robert Vartabedian attended the dedication. He credited the new common area as a perfect addition to Western’s campus. The addition kept with a universal goal on campus -- transformation of both students and facilities. “Thanks to the Kelley family, we are truly transforming lives and transforming this campus,” Vartabedian said. Jeanie Kelley, the daughter of James B. Kelley, was introduced and said a few words about her father and the campus. “My dad was a wonderful man. He gave his heart and soul to this university. As did my mother,” Jeanie Kelley said. “Because of their desire, we were very blessed we were able to help expand this wonderful campus.” The Kelley family expressed a desire for both students and community members to continue in the footsteps of James B. Kelley. Jeanie Kelley’s speech also included a call to action for all in attendance. “I strongly suggest you help do something for the campus. It is the glowing crown of this community,” Jeanie Kelley said. “I am so happy and so blessed that our family could be a part of this university as well as this community.” Western and the Kelley family have been closely tied since 1972. Chris Kelley, James B. Kelley’s nephew, explained to attendees James B. Kelley’s humble beginnings as an Italian immigrant. He ultimately became a millionare, and decided to give back to the community that provided him an opportunity to succeed. Former SGA president Katy Sisco was also in attendance. Sisco had the honor of express gratitude to the Kelley family for their kind actions. “Thanks to the generosity of many for making this space a reality, and a special thanks to the Kelley family and their continuous support to Missouri Western,” Sisco said. Former student governor Brian Shewell parroted Sisco’s remarks. He added that the Kelley Commons would prove to be a place beneficial for students, and would be a gathering place that helps transform Blum into a comfortable student hangout. “We were looking for an area to relax from the stress that comes with being a student,” Shewell said. “Thanks to the Kelley family, this space was made possible. Once more, on behalf of the Missouri Western family and the SGA, we thank you.” The Kelley Commons is now officially open and ready for use. It includes many tables and seating areas for students to enjoy, as well as a raised section that could double as a stage for small performances.