Dennis W. Kelly is the inaugural Dean of the Q. William Hammack School of Business at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, a role he began in October of 2018.
Immediately prior to joining Oglethorpe Kelly served as the Interim President of Smithsonian Enterprises, the for-profit arm of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Smithsonian Enterprises consists of 22 businesses including the Smithsonian Channel, Smithsonian and Air & Space Magazines, Smithsonian Publishing, 35 gift shops, 22 restaurants, two IMAX theaters, and global licensing.
Beginning in 2010 Kelly served for seven years as the director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park and Conservation Biology Institute and was named Director Emeritus. He was responsible for the operations of the public Zoo in Washington, which has about 2 million visitors a year, and managed the Zoo’s research programs, including groundbreaking work by Zoo scientists in conservation biology in 25 countries around the world. Kelly personally oversaw a long history of research and conservation programs for the giant panda in China.
As president and CEO of Zoo Atlanta from 2003 to 2010, Kelly enhanced that institution’s scientific and animal welfare programs and visitor experience and rebuilt its marketing, government relations and fundraising capabilities. He was deeply involved in Zoo Atlanta’s giant panda breeding, conservation and education programs in Atlanta and in China.
In 2016 and 2017, Kelly served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the accrediting body for the field in North America and beyond.
Prior to Zoo Atlanta, Kelly had was President, CEO and Vice Chairman of Green Mountain Energy Co. Green Mountain Energy provides renewable energy and “sustainable solutions” to residential and commercial customers. Kelly also held executive positions with The Coca-Cola Company, including the role of Deputy Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President of Marketing for Europe, and managerial positions with Procter & Gamble Company.
Kelly served two years of active duty in the United States Army.
Raised in Atlanta, Kelly earned a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree with honor from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master’s degree in business from Harvard University.