Biography of President Brendan B. KellyShare this page
Brendan B. Kelly, Ph.D. serves as president of the University of West Georgia, beginning his tenure in March 2020.
Since becoming UWG’s eighth president, Kelly has overseen the implementation of the institution’s Becoming UWG Strategic Plan. The plan emboldens a re-envisioned commitment for the members of the university community – to dedicate themselves to the curation of a first-choice university – following the strategic priorities of relevance, competitiveness, and placemaking.
During his time at UWG, Kelly – who was named one of Georgia’s Most Influential Leaders by Georgia Trend – has led innovation in programming both inside and outside the classroom with an emphasis on creating valuable life and career outcomes for students in an environment that inspires belonging and connectedness for everyone.
A commitment to launching or advancing each student’s career when they graduate – if not before – has resulted in students engaging in challenging, rewarding work both in class and in their chosen fields through internships, intentional mentorship, and other professional learning experiences. The institution completes this effort by serving as a proactive point of connection among its students and the industries, organizations, and communities that need their talent, ingenuity, and expertise. Additionally, under Kelly's leadership, UWG has been actively engaged in the economic development of the university's local and regional communities.
As UWG’s president, Kelly has overseen the institution's elevation to NCAA Division I athletics – a transition that will elevate all aspects of the university; the creation of new degree programs in computing, digital and social media communication, integrative health and wellness, supply chain management, and applied business analytics; the opening of the solution-centric Momentum Center; the in-progress renovation of the Humanities Building; and the completion of Roy Richards Sr. Hall.
Kelly is a practiced academic leader, previously serving in leadership roles as chancellor of the University of South Carolina Upstate, appointed interim president of the University of South Carolina, and vice president of university advancement at the University of West Florida. Kelly began his academic career in 2000 at Eastern Michigan University, where he was assistant director of forensics and a lecturer in the Department of Communication and Theatre Arts.
Earning both a Bachelor of Science degree in public relations and a master’s degree in communication from Eastern Michigan University, Kelly then earned his doctorate in rhetoric and political communication from Wayne State University. He and his wife, Dr. Tressa Kelly, reside in Carrollton and have three children – Bree (who recently married Andrew Luckey), Liam, and Kieran – and a Great Dane named Georgia.
American Association of State Colleges and Universities (Board of Directors)
Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education (Executive Committee and Board of Directors)
- The Chronicle of Higher Education (Presidents Advisory Group)
- Carroll Tomorrow (Board of Directors)
- City of Carrollton Redevelopment Authority (Board Member)
Douglas County Chamber of Commerce (Board of Directors and 2025 Chair)
Georgia Chamber of Commerce (Board of Directors)
- Gulf South Conference Athletics (Board of Directors)
Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce (Board of Directors; Chair of Economic Prosperity Alliance)
Past Professional Associations
- Carroll County Chamber of Commerce (Board of Directors) – 2020-2023