Starting this year, the building adjacent to Lavery Hall has a more meaningful identifier — Kelly Hall.
The building, which houses the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science headquarters, is named after the Kellys, a married couple who are long-time supporters of Virginia Tech. Hugh Kelly earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1937 and his master’s degree in the same field the following year. He went on to have a successful engineering career, working with several different companies including AT&T and NASA.
Hugh died in 1989, but his wife Ethel continued to support the College of Engineering after his death.
“The Kellys were benefactors and they left a major bequest to the university,” Associate Vice President of University Relations Larry Hincker said. “Mr. Kelly was an experienced and high profile NASA executive and scientist, and then he passed away and his wife wanted to commemorate his memory.”
According to the initial press release announcing the naming of Kelly Hall, Ethel Kelly’s estate provided $5 million to assist in the cost of the building, and $6 million total. A portion of that money is going to the Hugh and Ethel Kelly Lecture Series that will be held in Kelly Hall.
Though the building has been around since 2009, it has only been called Kelly Hall this year.
“It’s our more common practice to name a building for someone,” Hincker said.
Many iconic buildings on campus went through the same process. Until the 70s, Burruss Hall was called the Teaching and Administration Building, just like Torgersen Hall used to be named the Advance Communications and Information Technology Center.
The Kellys join many other benefactors and important Hokies that have buildings named after them on campus.