A Man Without Equal
Beloved mathematics professor
leaves a generous bequest
Robert “Bob” Kelley, M.S. ’60, an associate professor and associate chair in the Mathematics Department, devoted his career to the austere beauty of numbers. Yet with his deep affection for the natural world, eclectic interests, and diverse friendships, his life added up to far more than the sum of its parts.
A naturally generous spirit: Robert Kelley, a longtime faculty member in the Department of Mathematics, named the University as a beneficiary of his retirement plan and life insurance policy before he died last summer.
Kelley battled leukemia for nine years before succumbing to the disease on July 15, 2006. He designated his University of Miami faculty retirement plan and life insurance policy to the University.
Programs to receive a portion of the funds include the Department of Mathematics library and the Gifford Arboretum.
“Bob Kelley deeply appreciated both the beauty of abstract ideas and the variety of nature,” recalls Alan Zame, chair of the mathematics department. “Throughout his more than 45 years at the University, he was known for his ability to engage his students in the delights of both mathematics and the world around us. Now, with his gift to the department, he is leaving a significant legacy of learning that will benefit the University community for decades to come.”
Kelley’s delight in sharing knowledge always went beyond the classroom door. “Bob was interested in everything—from all kinds of music to Mayan archaeology— and he was always educating,” says his close friend Wendy Wallace, who recalls that Kelley’s razor-sharp intellect was complemented by a warm, empathetic personality. “He was a marvelous inspiration to many people in many different ways.”
On September 9, the University community honored Kelley by planting a rare native tree known as the Mexican Alvaradoa in the John C. Gifford Arboretum in his honor and hosting a harpsichord concert in the Maurice Gusman Concert Hall.