In remembrance of his significant contributions to NOVA, a dedication and memorial service was held at the Medical Education Campus (MEC) on March 7 in honor of Dr. Howard L. Kelley, former associate instructor, chief dentist and the MEC Restorative Dental Clinic director.
Members of Kelley’s family along with NOVA faculty, staff and community members shared fond memories of Kelley often reciting, “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent of how you react to it,” one of his favorite quotes. To honor his passion for dental education and community health, a memorial plaque will be displayed inside the MEC Restorative Dental Clinic in memory of his dedicated work with NOVA’s dental program students from 2005 to 2014 when he retired.
“Dr. Kelley was a great health educator who made a difference in his community and at Northern Virginia Community College,” said NOVA President Scott Ralls. “What made him so unique was his ability to put his academic accomplishments into action. We are proud to have a plaque at the Medical Education Campus in his honor as a meaningful way to always remember his contributions.”
Kelley, who died on January 26, was instrumental in the development of several important NOVA initiatives, including serving on the MEC’s Curriculum Committee and as program coordinator for Mission of Mercy and Give Kids A Smile, two annual MEC events sponsored by NOVA and the Northern Virginia Dental Society to offer free dental services to underserved children and adults in the region.
He spent the majority of his life as an advocate for education and public health. Through his participation in various medical aid and mission trips in several underdeveloped areas around the world, Kelley also used his extensive knowledge in dentistry to support several community health fairs and events in the Northern Virginia and D.C. region. Within his community, he served and advised several boards, including the Fairfax County Commission for Tissue Donation/Transplantation, Northern Virginia Psychiatric Rehabilitative Services and the Northern Virginia Area Health Education Center.
Kelley earned a bachelor’s degree from Central State College in Ohio in 1964, followed by a doctorate of dental surgery from Howard University in 1968, and a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University in 1970. While in graduate school, he began a career with the United States Public Health Service as a commissioned officer, serving as a senior public health advisor within the United States Department of Health and Human Services.