December 1, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 34°F


College mourns loss of longtime professor

Eileen Kelly, professor of management in the Ithaca College School of Business, passed away Monday after a battle with cancer.

An Intercom announcement Wednesday said Kelly, 57, began her career at the college as an associate professor of management in 1993.

Born Oct. 24, 1955, in Steubenville, Ohio, Kelly was the daughter of the late Edward J. and Mary C. Kelly, according to an obituary published in the Ithaca Journal on Wednesday. Kelly is survived by a brother, a sister and six nieces and nephews, the obituary said.

Mary Ellen Zuckerman, dean of the business school, who knew Kelly during her three years as dean, said Kelly was a true academic and an excellent professor.

“Firstly in the classroom, she was just outstanding,” Zuckerman said. “She taught a business applied ethics course, and she just provided the students with an enormous amount of content and information,” Zuckerman said. “She really helped them develop their critical thinking skills, and the students really appreciated it. Many students say it is one of the best courses they have taken at Ithaca College.”

Eileen Kelly

Eileen Kelly

Senior Andrew Walker took Ethical Issues in Management with Kelly last spring. He said Kelly’s teaching was outside-the-box.

“I would say that she was very dedicated to being an educator,” Walker said. “She wasn’t afraid to challenge us and really push us beyond the textbook. She was committed … she really knew her stuff, and it was a great experience being in her class.”

Kelly taught two courses in the legal studies program in Spring 2013. Kelly, who graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Ph.D. in industrial relations in 1982, served on the college’s faculty council since 2003.

Peter Rothbart, a music theory, history and composition professor and current Faculty Council Chair, served on several faculty council committees with Kelly and said she was very knowledgeable about college activities.

“Her comments were very insightful, but at the same time very informative,” Rothbart said.

Susan Rosenthal, associate professor and chair of management, said in an email interview that Kelly, her longtime friend, was a well-published and highly respected scholar who went above and beyond for the business school and the college.

“Dr. Kelly was a master teacher whose students adored her,” Rosenthal said. “She always volunteered for the most difficult and time-consuming committee service and performed admirably. Eileen Kelly was the best colleague and friend a faculty could ever hope to have. Not only did she teach ethics, she lived it. We will miss her terribly.”

Zuckerman said Kelly was highly respected by her colleagues in the business school and the students. She said Kelly was more than willing to step up and contribute to the school.

“Everybody knew that she was a straight-shooter,” Zuckerman said. “She would tell you exactly what she thought. She wasn’t trying to manipulate or hide things, so people really respected her. They respected her judgement, her opinion, and she was someone who had been here for a while and was a highly respected colleague.”

According to the obituary, friends will be received 4–8 p.m. Thursday at Mosti Funeral Home Sunset Chapel, 4435 Sunset Blvd. Steubenville, Ohio. Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Peter’s Church in Steubenville, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be made to Immaculate Conception Church in Ithaca, N.Y.

The college’s business school is expected to announce the dates of a memorial service on campus within the coming weeks.