GW Law Celebrates Dee J. Kelly with a Building in His Honor

Kelly family
From left to right: Dean Blake D. Morant, Craig L. Kelly, Cindy Kelly Barnes, Dee J. Kelly, Jr., and President Thomas J. LeBlanc at the Dee J. Kelly Law Learning Center on August 31.
September 06, 2018

GW Law celebrated the legacy of Dee J. Kelly, Sr., JD '54, during a Dedication Ceremony and the official renaming of the Law School Learning Center (LLC) to the Dee J. Kelly Law Learning Center on August 31. The law school previously announced that it received a $1.25 million gift to support its operations from the foundation.

Dean Blake D. Morant welcomed family members and friends of Mr. Kelly and shared details about his legacy and the impact he made in the law and in Texas politics. After graduating from GW Law, Mr. Kelly arrived in Fort Worth, Texas, where he established one of the state's most influential law firms, Kelly Hart & Hallman. His firm helped shape modern Fort Worth through their work on nearly every-high profile legal matter in the North Texas region. For Mr. Kelly, a life well-lived was one devoted to family and friends and dedicated to respecting others while in service to his community. He was also honored for his philanthropy. Mr. Kelly believed in the arts and was on a number of different non-profit boards, including the Van Cliburn Foundation. At GW Law, Mr. Kelly leaves, "his imprint to show that lawyers, in addition to doing what they do for their clients, have got to figure out a way of advancing society, and he did that in a number of different ways. I am so proud to have this opportunity to lead this program and to dedicate it to a true giant—an individual who was not only a great lawyer—but also a great humanitarian and someone who believed in fostering society," Dean Morant said.

According to George Washington University President Thomas J. LeBlanc, "Mr. Kelly's legacy of service through law and philanthropy embodies what it means to be a GW alumnus. With this generous gift and through the naming of the Dee J. Kelly Law Learning Center, we hope to honor Dee's memory by continuing to foster a dynamic student-focused community stimulated by cultural and intellectual diversity. The studying, legal research, and moot court competitions our students hold here will help to do just that."

Mr. Kelly's three children—Cindy Kelly Barnes, Dee J. Kelly, Jr., and Craig L. Kelly—as well as his grandchildren, attended the dedication ceremony to celebrate his life and contributions. "This would be a very special day to him, not just because his name is up on the wall, it's because of recognition of what this education meant to him and what it meant to his future," said Dee Kelly, Jr.