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Alumni Service Award:
Blaine Kelley, Jr. '51

Blaine Kelley, Jr. '51

Blaine Kelley, Jr. transforms landscapes. A real estate developer, his building projects dot the Southeast and the world, bringing beauty and light into the office environment. A committed civic leader, his leadership has made his adopted hometown of Atlanta a better place to live for all people. His generous gifts of time, talent, and treasure reflect his staunch support of education and have ensured that countless students around the country receive high quality liberal arts educations. A loyal alumnus of Davidson College, his vision has led the college toward a more global and inclusive perspective.

He came to Davidson in the heady post-WWII days and made his mark on campus through The Davidsonian, Quips & Cranks, the International Relations Club, and membership in Beta Theta Pi. Upon graduation in 1951 with a degree in economics, he joined the U.S. Army Artillery, earning the rank of First Lieutenant. He re-entered civilian life after two-and-a-half years and went to work for the family business. Wanting to strike out on his own, he moved to Atlanta in 1957, where he met his wife and partner in life, Sylvia.

The next forty years were full ones for Blaine. He and Sylvia had three children, Katharine, Blaine III, and Alan. He founded and chaired two major real estate development companies, The Landmarks Group and The Urban Group which have helped sculpt the Atlanta skyline. He volunteered his time with a wide variety of organizations in Atlanta and around the country, such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Change, the Urban Land Institute, the Southern Center for International Studies, the Carter Center, and the Atlanta and Georgia Chambers of Commerce.

In the midst of it all, he always found time for alma mater. From helping to plan his class reunions and raising money to serving as president of the Alumni Association and sitting on the Board of Trustees to leading the Atlanta alumni chapter, he freely offered his leadership and expertise to the college, leaving it a better place. Perhaps his most enduring legacy is his involvement in the founding of the Dean Rusk Program in International Studies. Often called the "father of the Dean Rusk program," Blaine's tireless efforts on behalf of the program enable Davidson students to gain an informed awareness of and appreciation for the whole planet.

Because you have always found time for alma mater in the face of an incredibly full life; because your leadership has inspired so many others to give of themselves to Davidson College; because your open mind and international outlook have made Davidson stronger and more diverse; and because you make Davidson proud to claim you as her own, the Alumni Association presents this Alumni Service Award to you, Blaine Kelley, Jr., on the occasion of the Class of 1951's 50th Reunion, April 21, 2001.

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