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Eamon Kelly

Professor, Tulane President Emeritus & Center Co-Founder
Eamon M. Kelly

Eamon Michael Kelly, Professor of International Development and Board Chair of the congressionally mandated center for advanced research in information and digital technologies “Digital Promise”, was the first social scientist to be elected Chairman of the Board of the National Science Foundation. Dr. Kelly is the President Emeritus of Tulane University having served as its president for seventeen years.

He is also the former Chairman of the Association of American Universities, and the original Chairman of the Satellite Working Group, which established the first nation wide private satellite system in the U.S. for the benefit of the Public Broadcasting Service. In 1968, Kelly was appointed to U.S. government service by the President serving as Director of Policy Formulation with the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. He was later named Special Assistant to the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, where he participated in planning and initiating the federal governments first minority economic development program.

Dr. Kelly joined the Ford Foundation in 1969 and served as Officer-in-Charge for the Office of Social Development, the Foundations largest domestic and civil rights division. In 1977, Kelly served as a special consultant to the U.S. House of Representatives where he participated in drafting legislation that provided a $1.7 billion guarantee to prevent the insolvency of New York City. Later that year, he was appointed Special Assistant to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor. In that position, he successfully directed a government-wide investigation of the Teamster’s $1.4 billion Central States Pension Fund and led negotiations resulting in the Fund being transferred to private management. After leaving the Labor Department, Kelly returned, at the request of the Secretary of Labor, to direct efforts that ended a crippling nationwide coal strike.

In 1981, Dr. Kelly became the 13th president of Tulane University. He retired from the presidency and returned to the faculty in 1998 and currently teaches courses at Tulane on international urban and rural development.

Primary Classification: 
  • B.A., Fordham University
  • M.S., Columbia University, Economics
  • Ph.D., Columbia University, Economics
Academic Experience: 
  • Professor, Payson Center for International Development, 2010-present
  • Executive Director , Payson Center for International Development, 2007– 2010
  • Director of Academic Programs and Distinguished Professor in International Development (Endowed Chair) 1998-2007
  • President, Tulane University, 1981-1998
Country Experience: 

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