2003 Distinguished Alumni Award
Dr. Frank N. Kelley
Dean Emeritus, College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering and Professor Emeritus of Polymer Science, The University of Akron, Akron, Ohio, Frank N. Kelley was born in Akron, Ohio. He attended The University of Akron where he earned a B.S. in chemistry, an M.S. and a Ph.D. (1961) in polymer chemistry. While attending the University, he was employed by The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and later the Institute of Polymer Science. After graduating, he was employed by the Union Carbide Corporation until entering active duty with the United States Air Force. He was assigned to the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory Edwards AFB, California, as an Air Force lieutenant and at the completion of his military tour, in July 1964, he was employed as a civilian. He conducted research and managed technical programs associated with solid-propellant mechanical properties. He became Branch Chief of Propellant Development in 1966 and in 1970 was transferred to a staff assignment as Chief of Advanced Plans. In 1971 he was named Chief Scientist. In September 1973, Dr. Kelley transferred to the Air Force Materials Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio to occupy a similar position as Chief Scientist. In September 1976 he was named Director of the Laboratory.
In September 1978 he returned to his alma mater to serve as a professor and Director of the Institute of Polymer Science. He was appointed as Dean when the College was formed in July 1988. As Professor of Polymer Science, he supervised the research of 18 PhD and 6 Masters degree graduates. As dean, Dr. Kelley was the chief administrator of the largest academic polymer program in the United States. He serves on the boards of the Great Lakes Science Center and Ohio Polymer Enterprise Development Corporation. He served for 13 years as a director of Premix Inc., an Ohio based polymer composites company, and currently serves on the board of Romeo RIM, Inc., a Michigan based composites company. Dr. Kelley has received the Rubber Age Award, the AIM Outstanding Technical Contribution Award, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Civilian Meritorious Service Medal (in 1967 and 1978), and the Exceptional Civilian Service Award from the Secretary of the Air Force. He received the Distinguished Award of Council from the Akron Council of Engineering and Scientific Societies, and the Distinguished Sales and Marketing Award from Sales and Marketing Executives International. He was an active researcher, teacher and still remains a consultant. His publications focused on the relationship of molecular structure to mechanical properties of polymeric materials and composites.