In Remembrance: Thomas P. Kelly Jr.

We are saddened to share that Thomas P. Kelly Jr., emeritus professor and a former dean of the LMU College of Communication and Fine Arts, passed away on April 7, 2021. He was 91 years old.

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Mr. Kelly joined LMU in the fall of 1975 in what is now CFA, which then included the film and television departments. During his tenure as dean he became known for his passion for the arts and his ambition to see the college prosper.

After his retirement in 2003, Mr. Kelly maintained close contact with the college, serving on the CFA Council. The Thomas P. Kelly Jr. Student Art Gallery, established in 2008, is named in his honor and reflects his devotion to LMU’s students. One of his long-term goals had been for the LMU Choruses to sing at the Vatican, which he and his wife, Ginny, witnessed as they traveled with the group on the 2010 Italy tour. Mr. and Mrs. Kelly were benefactors of the European Choral Tour, CFA, the Loren Garretson Dance Scholarship, the Peg Dolan R.S.H.M. Campus Ministry, and the Samuel Z. Arkoff Award.

Before joining LMU, Mr. Kelly was a writer, director and producer in film, television and theatre. In 1967, he won an Oscar for his documentary, “A Year Toward Tomorrow,” and he was nominated in 1969 for the documentary, “A Space to Grow.” He also wrote “The Parent Book,” on the positive emotional development of children.

Mr. Kelly graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in history from Providence College, and earned a master’s degree in drama from Catholic University of America. A memorial mass will be held at American Martyrs Catholic Church in Manhattan Beach, California on July 10. Tom is survived by his seven children, eleven grandchildren, his brother-in-law, and three sisters-in-law. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Please keep Tom, his wife Ginny, his family, and his many friends in your prayers.