H. PAUL KELLEY
H. Paul Kelley died March 31, 2007, in Austin, Texas. With his passing, colleagues in The University of Texas System, The University of Texas at Austin, the College of Education, the Department of Educational Psychology, and the former Measurement and Evaluation Center lost an esteemed scholar admired for his integrity and respected for his determination to do what was right. In giving his all in every job, he earned national prominence in his field.
H. Paul Kelley, son of Henry and Jane Kelley, was born July 4, 1928, in Cleburne, Texas, and grew up in Galveston. He received his B.A. in pure mathematics in 1949 and his M.A. in educational psychology from UT Austin in 1951. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from Princeton University in 1954.
While working on his undergraduate degree, he met and married his bridge partner Lucerle DeCourcy Scott. After he finished his M.A. degree, the couple relocated to Princeton, New Jersey, where Paul began doctoral studies at Princeton University and served as a psychometric fellow for the Educational Testing Service from 1951-54. His dissertation was so innovative that it was later published as a monograph in the prestigious journal Pychometrika.
Upon graduation, Paul and his family moved to San Antonio where he accepted a job as a personnel measurement and evaluation psychologist for the U.S. Air Force Personnel and Training Center. He then worked as an aviation experimental psychologist for the U.S. Naval School of Aviation Medicine from 1955-57 in Pensacola, Florida. He and his family then returned to Austin where Paul assumed the position at UT Austin of coordinator of measurement services at the Testing and Counseling Center with the rank of assistant professor—and later associate professor—of educational psychology, from 1958-1964.
In 1964, Paul left UT to become the first regional director of the Southwest Region Office of the College Board, serving in that capacity until 1967. He returned to UT as the first director of the Measurement and Evaluation Center with the rank of professor of educational psychology, serving in this capacity until his retirement in 1999, when he was awarded the title of professor emeritus.
Throughout his career at UT, Paul continued to promote the goal of equity in testing by serving on many committees for the College Board. He was a consultant for and workshop director on academic placement and credit-by-examination from 1975-1985. He was a visiting faculty member for the Annual Institute on College Entrance, Academic Placement and Student Financial Assistance sponsored by the College Board and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, from 1975-1994. From 1968-1973, Paul was a member of the Southwestern Regional Advisory Committee for the College Board. From 1970-73, he served as vice chair of the Committee on Research and Development for the College Board national office and then as Chair of that committee from 1973-76. From 1979-1980, he served as a member of the Advisory Panel on Economic Implications of Recognizing Prior Learning for the national office of the College Board.
Paul’s contributions to the College Board were acknowledged by two significant honors. In 1976, the College Board presented him the Edward S. Noyes Award for outstanding service. In 1985, the Southwestern Regional Office of the College Board presented him the Advanced Placement Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Contributions to Instructional Excellence through the Advanced Placement Program.
Paul also regularly appeared at regional meetings of the College Board Southwestern Regional Office and at special-topic national meetings of the College Board to deliver presentations on course placement and credit-by-examination procedures and on admission offices’ uses of tests in the admissions process. In one typical year (1979-1980), he delivered 15 College Board presentations across the country on the topic, Application of The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) for Academic Placement.
Paul actively supported the College Board’s research agenda because he always sought to promote fairness in testing practices. To advance this end, he was one of the founders and the second president of the Texas Association of Collegiate Testing Personnel, conceived to allow staff members of testing centers throughout Texas to share experiences and to orient new staff entering the field.
Paul’s contributions to The University of Texas at Austin were vast. He gave freely of his time to students, departments, and staff in every academic and administrative unit. As the first director of the Measurement and Evaluation Center, he established a model for national best practices in collegiate psychometric practice and research. Testing administrators and staff at many universities sought out Paul’s advice when they created their own testing centers, seeking to emulate the Measurement and Evaluation Center.
Paul always relished his role as a faculty member, teaching a department-wide required course throughout the 30-plus years of his dual faculty/administrative appointments. He mentored many students, served on countless dissertation committees, and spent untold hours consulting with students to improve their doctoral research projects. He had profound impact on the direction of many students’ lives, producing many scholars who have contributed extensively to their fields through their research and teaching.
Paul’s contribution to the University didn’t end with the testing center and his teaching. He served as secretary of the University Council and Faculty Council from 1981-1997 and as parliamentarian from 1979-1998. He was also parliamentarian of the General Faculty from 1979-1998. Paul was an ex officio member of the Faculty Senate from 1981-1995. He was an ex officio member of the Educational Policy Committee from 1968 until his retirement and was an elected member of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility from 1979-1991. From 1981-1997 he served as an ex officio member of the General Faculty Rules Committee. Paul was also the first supervisor of the Texas Academic Skills Program Office when the program was mandated by the legislature.
Paul served on University, college, and departmental committees too numerous to mention. Because Paul wore so many hats, he interacted with faculty and staff in every department on the UT campus. He was also well known in the UT System office and regularly conducted research for the chancellor.
Paul accepted all these additional responsibilities because of his determination to do what was right, not for personal gain. He was truly kind and giving, offering his considerable intellectual, administrative, and scholarly gifts to the University. When you think of Paul Kelley, you immediately think of The University of Texas. They are synonymous. Appropriately, Paul was one of the first two recipients of the Civitatis Award for outstanding service to the University in 1997.
Paul Kelley had a profound impact on the lives of many people throughout the University, the UT System office, and the academic world. He will be remembered as one of the great figures in psychometric practice and research at the University and at regional, state, and national levels. Paul will be remembered for always doing what he thought was right, even when it might have been contrary to his personal interest.
Professor Kelley was passionate in his promotion of appropriate use of tests for the betterment of student placement and educational advancement. We are indebted to him for improving testing practice in Texas and around the nation. However, we have lost not simply an esteemed colleague; we have also lost a very dear friend. He ever greeted us with a warm smile, inviting us always to join with him in the pursuit of our dreams for a better, fairer educational system. We deeply mourn his loss.
Shortly after Paul Kelley’s death, DeCourcy Kelley, his beloved wife of more than 50 years, passed away on May 8, 2007. Paul and DeCourcy are survived by their loving sons, Roger; Scott and his long-time girlfriend, Elisabeth Wright; Gordon and his wife, Anne; by nieces, Barbara Kelley Willis and her husband, Christian; Theo Scott-Scheiern; DeCourcy Lurlene Squire; and Nancy Fisher; by nephews, Harvey Scott and Ralph Squire; by grandchildren, James; Kimberlie Keller and her husband, David; by grandnieces, Carissa and Miranda; and by grandnephew, Neal Scott-Scheiern; as well as by many nieces and nephews through marriage.
William Powers Jr., President
The University of Texas at Austin
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty
This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors Barbara G. Dodd (chair), Earl Jennings, and William R. Koch.