Skip to main content

Carol and David Kelley, MD Endowed Scholarship

David and Carol Kelly

David and Carol Kelley

Carol and David Kelley, MD Endowed Scholarship: Giving Medical Students the ‘Freedom to Explore’

It’s not just absence that makes the heart grow fonder. Distance and time can contribute, too, especially when it comes to thoughts of one’s medical school alma mater.

"I have developed such very fond memories of my experience at the University of Maryland Medical School that I decided now was the right time to show my gratitude and give back," says David E. Kelley, MD, ’78, who with his wife recently established the Carol and David Kelley, MD Endowed Scholarship at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

A Broad Ranging Career

Recently retired from Merck and residing in Westfield, NJ, Dr. Kelley proudly looks back on the phases of his peripatetic medical career. His work began in clinical practice in Milford, DE; advanced with sub-specialty training in endocrinology and metabolism at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN; and continued with twenty years on the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, where David became a Professor of Medicine. David, with Carol’s active participation, conducted a productive program of research on diabetes mellitus together with clinical practice and teaching. Subsequently, for ten years, David helped lead drug discovery efforts in diabetes at Merck Research Laboratories.

A child of a Naval officer, Dr. Kelley says moving around has always been “a fact of life” for him. But one thing has remained constant in his adult life.

"Maryland always felt like a home base for Carol and me," says Dr. Kelley, who also completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Maryland Hospital, had lived in Bethesda as a child and had grandparents on the Eastern Shore.  Carol grew up in the Baltimore suburbs.

In fact, that is where Dr. Kelley met Carol, who graduated in the same year from the University of Maryland School of Nursing. She was then working in the oncology ward at the hospital while he was doing rounds.

The Time Was Right

Dr. Kelley says that, ever since, they both have felt grateful for the education they received at the University of Maryland and have long contributed to the school’s annual fund, to express their appreciation. Because they are both celebrating their 40th reunions in 2018, the couple decided to take a different approach this year.

"We thought the time was right to do something more meaningful, more substantial," Dr. Kelley says. "We both had outstanding role models during our time at Maryland. It seemed like the right time to make a contribution that would honor the memories of the men and women we admired."

The Kelleys decided to make a gift of $100,000 to fund the Carol and David Kelley, MD Endowed Scholarship. The endowed fund is designed to benefit the needs of any deserving University of Maryland medical students. Dr. Kelley says his own experience as a medical student shaped their decision.

"I was a recipient of a scholarship myself, and it meant a lot to me," he says. "Not having a large financial debt to carry around enabled me to pursue opportunities I might not otherwise have had."

An Enormous Burden

Debt is an enormous burden on today’s students. Average student indebtedness for medical school graduates now exceeds $150,000 — an issue that not only influences a student’s career choices, it also undermines the ability of schools like the University of Maryland to attract best students from all economic populations.

Dr. Kelley says he witnessed the impact of educational debt firsthand while at the University of Pittsburgh listening to and advising residents and fellows who struggled to balance their financial concerns with career decisions. He and Carol hope their donation will help support both the institution’s and the students’ efforts.

"We wanted to make a modest contribution that would help mitigate some of the financial burden and enable that same sense of freedom to explore options that we experienced," he says. "it’s just an invaluable asset."

Dr. Kelley says that, come reunion time, he won’t hesitate to encourage his classmates and former colleagues to follow his example.

“It’s good for the soul to give back and express gratitude,” he says. "Even a modest contribution can make a big difference."

Join the Kelleys in Making Dreams Possible

We invite you to join in the School of Medicine’s Making Dreams Possible scholarship initiative as part of the Catalyst Campaign. For more information about making a gift to create a named scholarship or to support our general scholarship fund, contact Marjorie Bray at 410-706-0418 or