John Kelly Obituary, Death – On the occasion of Professor John Kelly’s untimely demise, the employees and board of directors of AHEAD would like to convey their deepest condolences and sympathies to his family. We are saddened by the news of Professor John Kelly’s loss. In addition to this, we would want to acknowledge our gratitude to him for the contribution that he made to the organization and write this down. As the Registrar of University College Dublin (UCD), John responded to student complaints in the late 1980s that not enough support was being provided for students with disabilities in UCD. These issues were voiced by students who attended UCD. This marked the beginning of John’s involvement as an important character in the development of AHEAD, which had its beginnings in the late 1980s.
AHEAD’s roots may be traced back to the time period. John worked with other students to found a university peer support group, which later developed into a movement across the country and, over the course of time, evolved into the national independent NGO that we are today. John’s efforts were instrumental in the formation of our organization. After that, John attained the post of first chair of AHEAD, which he continued to hold for more than a dozen years. John remained an avid supporter of the organization that he had been a part of developing throughout his entire life.
In 2019, AHEAD established the John Kelly Award for Universal Design in Further and Higher Education as a way of recognizing the innovative practices in further and higher education that deliver a more inclusive learning experience for students. The award is named after John Kelly, who was a pioneer in the field of universal design. The pioneering work that AHEAD has been doing inspired the establishment of this award as a means of recognizing that work. The ceremony for this year’s awards was held on October 17 in O’Reilly Hall, which also served as the venue for the event. This year, the awards were rethought and revamped by UCD in conjunction with AHEAD. It was incredibly exciting for both AHEAD and UCD that John was able to give a personal address to the attendees of the event.