Four out of five immediate Kelly family members have received solid educations at Texas A&M’s business school, so they wanted to give something back. Kim ’79 and T. Mark Kelly ’79 committed $100,000 to the Business Honors Program to honor the quality educations they and two of their children received at Texas A&M University and to help Mays Business School entice top students.

Four generations of the Kelly family have gone through the university, but the youngest daughter Maddy, who is 17, is still considering her options.

T. Mark '79 and Kim Kelly '79
T. Mark ’79 and Kim Kelly ’79

Who knows? She could have an experience similar to her brother’s. Ryan Kelly was considering several top colleges before his freshman year, and it didn’t seem to his parents that he was likely to choose Texas A&M. “At the 11th hour the university offered him a partial scholarship, and I think that’s what turned him around to go to A&M,” recalls his father, Mark Kelly. “It wasn’t a lot of money, but it was the gesture that meant so much to him. Just doing that showed him they really wanted him, and he chose A&M. I don’t think he ever regretted that decision.”

Distributions from the endowment for the Kim ’79 and T. Mark Kelly ’79 Business Honors Scholarship will be awarded to full-time students in the Business Honors Program. The program within Mays provides 30 hours of honors course work, including an internship, as well as extensive professional development opportunities. Business honors students also can earn a double major with no additional course work.

“They didn’t have the “Business Honors’ per se back in the Dark Ages when my wife and I were in school, but we both had good experiences and got solid educations,” says Kelly, who is chairman elect of the 800-lawyer firm Vinson & Elkins in Houston. His whose wife started her career at a Big 8 accounting firm.

That high level of quality carried on through the next generation, Kelly says. Their daughter Kristin graduated summa cum laude in 2008 and Ryan graduated magna cum laude in spring 2011. “We are pleased to see our children receive quality education at Texas A&M’s business school and pursue solid careers,” he says. “They both have landed on their feet and done extremely well, starting their careers as investment bankers.”

Kelly and his wife wanted to give something to Mays to help set it apart from other top business schools. “I want them to be able to go out and have something tangible to offer those top students,” he says. “A lot of times these students couldn’t qualify for the need-based awards, but these gifts go a long way in saying, “We want you here.’ That can make the difference in attracting some of these students who have so many choices.”