Raymond C. Kelley is the recipient of the Indiana University East 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award. Kelley will receive the honorary award during the IU East commencement ceremony at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 14. The ceremony is being held at the Richmond High School Tiernan Center.
The IU East Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes outstanding IU East alumni who have distinguished themselves through personal and professional accomplishments, community service, involvement with the university and involvement with the alumni association.
“I’m very, very honored to be held in the same light as some of the other people who have received this award,” Kelley said.
Kelley, formerly of Hagerstown, Ind., received a Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Sciences with a concentration in Political Science from IU East in 2004. He has done post-graduate work in political science at Ball State University.
Before becoming a student at IU East, Kelley was a military police officer in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1989 to 1995. He enlisted as soon as he graduated from Hagerstown High School. He then owned a farrier business in east central Indiana, Ray Kelley Horseshoeing. He returned to the U.S. Army Reserve as a psychological operations team leader where he conducted over 250 combat missions independently and in conjunction with indigenous forces and Special Forces in North Babel Province of Iraq.
In 1995, the first time Kelley enrolled in classes at IU East, he left after one semester. He said after serving in the Marine Corps for six years, transitioning to college life did not go very well. The support of his wife, Rebecca, and a conversation with Paul Kriese, associate professor of political science, led him to return nearly seven years later.
“Upon visiting IU East, I was introduced to Dr. Paul Kriese. This conversation gave me the confidence to return to school. It was Dr. Kriese’s unique desire to teach students, not only how to understand theories and principles of political science, but how to develop individual thought from these theories and principles and use them to defend and question positions,” Kelley said. “His teachings have served me well, both in my military life and in the professional world.”
Kriese and Kelley have kept in touch over the years. They visit when Kelley has the chance to visit Richmond or talk by phone.
“Ray is a thoughtful student. He is a patriot who considers all of the options before he speaks,” Kriese said. “He is a great example of a solid American.”
Today Kelley is the national legislative director for AMVETS in Lanham, Md., the fourth largest Veterans Service Organization. He directs the organization’s policies concerning the Department of Veteran Affairs, Department of Defense and education and labor issues facing military service members, veterans and their families.
Kelley also co-owns and is vice president of Supportive Education for the Returning Veteran (SERV Corp). The program offers veterans attending college help with transitioning from military life to a student life, especially for veterans returning from a combat zone. The program, which also offers veteran-only introductory courses, is now on four college campuses with plans for expansion.
Kelley lives in the Washington D.C. area with his wife, Rebecca. He is a father of a daughter and two sons.