Darren D. Kelly, a 2004 alumnus of the McIntire School of Commerce, has been named the new Associate Vice President and Dean of the Office of African American Affairs (OAAA). Darren will join the division on October 2.
Darren comes from the University of Texas at Austin where he currently serves as the Associate Vice President within the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. He is a member of the Vice President’s executive team and a leader of Academic Diversity Initiatives and Student Engagement (ADI-SE), promoting recruitment, retention, and academic success for students from under-represented and under-served communities. ADI-SE consists of five unique units and centers that include programs supporting the academic and professional development of underrepresented students from a variety of backgrounds. Darren oversees all ADI-SE administrative and budgetary functions and manages a 67-member team. Among his many accomplishments, Darren and his team partnered with fundraisers to secure a $750,000 gift to ADI-SE. He has also been active in several community engagement efforts in Austin and beyond.
“The search committee was impressed by Dr. Kelly’s vast experience working with faculty, staff, and students to develop high-impact programs and initiatives,” said Malo Hutson, Dean of the School of Architecture, who chaired the search committee. “He is a dynamic leader committed to the success of students.”
Of special note is Darren’s extensive teaching and research experience in sports management. As a scholar, he conducts research centered around the holistic development of student-athletes – specifically African American student-athletes. Darren currently serves as an assistant professor of instruction in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at UT-Austin, where he teaches classes on the intersection of sports and society, including a course on race and sports in African American life. Deeply committed to service as well as mentoring students, Darren helps organize an annual national conference for Black student-athletes and serves as an instructor for a study abroad program in Cape Town, South Africa.
Darren is a student-focused leader, a quality he attributes to his own time as a student at UVA. He recalls the warm welcome he received from his peer advisor and OAAA when he arrived in Charlottesville in the fall of 2000 as an out-of-state student and recipient of the Jerome Holland Scholarship. These experiences led him to serve as an OAAA Peer Advisor for three years while also participating in the Black Student Alliance, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and serving as a Class of 2004 Fourth-Year Trustee. A member of the Austin community since 2007, Darren continued his education at UT-Austin, earning a master’s degree in 2009 and his doctorate in 2012. Both of Darren’s advanced degrees focus on kinesiology with specialization in sports management.
While the nationwide search at UVA for a new OAAA dean extended over several months, we were very fortunate to have Michael Mason at the helm of OAAA. Michael’s steady leadership and compassionate manner have benefited the division and the University in untold ways, especially last November with the tragic loss of our three students. We are deeply grateful to Michael for his service.
Darren will be moving to Charlottesville this fall with his wife, Paige, and their 8- and 10-year-old sons. The family enjoys watching and playing sports, travel, and exploring the outdoors.
“I’m excited to be returning to UVA and Charlottesville,” Darren said. “I cherish the opportunity to continue the outstanding work of OAAA, a unit that meant so much to me as a student. My family and I are grateful for this opportunity.”