J. Michael Kelly, dean of Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources, has announced his retirement effective September 2009.

Kelly was appointed as the college’s second dean in 2004. During his tenure, the college has seen the numbers of new students doubled, programs expanded to reflect Virginia Tech’s strategic plan, and external research dollars increased by more than 60 percent.

Kelly has also worked with Virginia Tech colleagues to establish preferred partner agreements with the College of Forest Sciences at the Universidad Austral de Chile and the College of Forest and Environmental Sciences at Kangwon National University in Korea to encourage a wide spectrum of opportunities, including academic programming such as study abroad, internships, practical training, distance learning, and cooperative education; exchanges for research, training, or teaching; collaborative research projects, workshops, or conferences; and exchange of other institutional professionals or information.

This year he hosted the highly successful North American Forest Soils Conference on its 50th anniversary. He has served on the University Academic Advisory Committee, the University Committee on Athletics, the Commission on Faculty Affairs, and is the lead dean for Virginia Tech’s hosting of the 18th Annual Conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists to take place Oct. 15-19 at Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke, Va.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Kelly served as chair of the Department of Forestry and later the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Iowa State University. He also spent 20 years with the Tennessee Valley Authority and worked as a research associate in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University, an associate ecologist for the NUS Corporation in Pittsburgh, a pre-doctoral research fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and an assistant professor of biology at Ferrum College.

A Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, Kelly has authored and co-authored in excess of 100 articles on forest soils, tree nutrition, and air pollution impacts for professional journals and is a Certified Professional Soil Scientist. He sits on the editorial board for Forest Ecology and Management and has served as associate editor for Forest Science and the Soil Science Society of America Journal. He has been listed in Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, Who’s Who in America, and Men and Women of Science.

Kelly has been active in numerous professional organizations and activities. He helped develop and served as chair of the National Acidic Deposition Program/National Trends Network, has served on the National Association of Professional Forestry Schools and Colleges Executive Committee, has been a member of the board of directors of Trees Forever, and was appointed an ex-officio member of the board of directors of the Virginia Forestry Association. He has served on technical committees for the National Atmospheric Deposition Program and the Electric Power Research Institute Integrated Lake and Watershed Study Program; has been a technical representative to the U.S. Department Interior Committee on Acid Precipitation Research; chaired the Effects Subcommittee of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program; and co-chaired the Workshop on Aluminum Toxicity to Trees, which was held in Sweden.

He has been a technical reviewer for numerous grants programs, and chaired both the Iowa Chapter of the Society of American Foresters and the North Central Region of the National Association of Professional Forestry Schools and Colleges. Both the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Electric Power Research Institute presented him with special awards for bridging the gaps between research and policy applications.

In addition to his professional activities, Kelly is an active pilot and has been a chapter president of the Experimental Aircraft Association, a member of the Iowa Conservation Congress Planning Committee, a head referee in Region 390 of the American Youth Soccer Organization, a volunteer craftsman at the Museum of Appalachia in Tennessee, an organizing committee member for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and a volunteer train crew member for the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad.

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