Profile: Dr. Anthony Kelley

By: Heather Fleck

Professor Anthony Kelley, Ph.D., is in his second academic year at Coe College. He joined the Kohawk family right after the history-making derecho hit Cedar Rapids back on August 10, 2020. Dr. Kelley was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama but most recently moved from Denver, Colorado where he finished up his doctorate.

Dr. Kelley “really fell in love with Coe during [his] campus visit.” Dr. Kelley said, “I like that Coe is a relatively smaller school. I like the intimate setting, the relationships you develop with your students…it facilitates a better learning experience.” When asked what he likes most about Coe, he struggled to choose just one thing as there are many positive things about Coe. Dr. Kelley shared, “ [It’s] the people including my colleagues and students. It’s a very welcoming and warm environment. I feel supported as a new faculty member in various respects. I feel like the students here are eager to learn and open to learn new things…I love my friend Professor Hatchel in religion.”

A typical day for Dr. Kelley doesn’t exactly exist, but it usually starts with working on some of his own research followed by answering some emails and preparing for class, possibly putting some finishing touches on powerpoints if needed. After that Dr. Kelley may have a Zoom meeting or two with students and then he heads off to teach, all virtual this semester, and on a good day he squeezes some grading in. All his classes are Tuesday and Thursdays making for a very long day as Dr. Kelley stated, leaving three days a week more flexible for him. 

Dr. Kelley had quite the path getting to Coe, but everything shaped him into the successful professor that he is today. “I probably just eked out with a high school diploma. I had to work a lot in high school. I came from a working class background…I was once in a summer program that was a very thinly veiled attempt program to turn young black men into conservatives and spent the summer in Washington DC….After high school I went to college at Columbia University in New York City with a concentration in womens and gender studies there…” After completing his undergraduate degree, “ [he] then went to get a master of philosophy from Northern Illinois University in decal, Illinois.” Once he got his masters degree, Dr. Kelley went on to do some teaching at a college in Alabama, in his small hometown, and then he went on to successfully complete his Ph.D in philosophy at the University of Colorado.  Dr. Kelley just defended his dissertation in December of 2020.

When asked if he had any advice for students. Dr. Kelley shared this, “You do belong. People who are highly qualified place you where you are on the basis of your accomplishments on the promise of your talent. Know that you belong, continue to get better, sharpen your talents, and continue to get better. There is enough space here for everyone.”

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