Before Col. Jacquelin Kelly passed away from cancer in 2014, she bequeathed a generous gift to STU’s Athletic Program. Jacquelin, a lifelong athlete and coach, held a strong belief that women should participate in competitive sports and pursue higher education, and in recognition of her gift, the university dedicated “The Col. Jacquelin Kelly Field” at the St. Thomas Softball Complex.
Jacqueline led an adventurous, unconventional life. In 1960, she joined the army and was stationed in the Middle East and the Far East working in military intelligence. Jacquelin, who received her bachelors from St. Elizabeth College, served in the army for 21 years, 12 of them at the Pentagon, where she was the highest ranking woman at that time, having achieved the rank of colonel.
In the mid-1980s, Jacquelin moved to South Florida where she continued her education by pursuing a master’s in sports administration at STU and graduated in 1987 at the age of 56 - in total, she earned four master’s degrees, including one in Chinese.
"This generous donation to our athletics department not only allows us to upgrade our facilities, but also gives us the opportunity to honor an amazing female, a champion of character,” said Laura Courtley-Todd, STU director of athletics. “Jacquelin was a phenomenal role model, and will remain so through the naming of the softball complex."