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|William H. Kelly '40|
William (Bill) Kelly is an entrepreneur who extols the tradition of the liberal arts education and exemplifies what Hiram College hopes to instill in its students: a thinking, creative, value-based person who continues to search for purpose and understanding in the changing world around us.
Bill's pre-graduation departure from Hiram College was necessitated by the onset of World War II and the needs of his family's silver and platinum fox farm in Medina County. While at Hiram, William was active in varsity basketball and track. He was also a member of Theta Phi Kappa, Music and Drama Groups and on Thayer House Council. His educational experiences and the mentoring relationships he formed at Hiram played an important role in his professional life.
Hiram Biology Professor Emeritus J.J. Turner introduced Bill to a new field of study in biochemistry - amino acid research - a field that interested Bill greatly due to his familiarity with raising and feeding fox. It was a connection that served as the foundation of Bill's post-war career.
William Kelly, with his brother, founded Bil-Jac Foods, Inc., a highly successful premium pet foods company headquartered in Medina, Ohio. He is an internationally recognized expert in the field of animal nutrition and has developed a loyal and rapidly growing clientele of veterinarians, professional dog breeders, and family pet owners who have contributed to Bil-Jac's remarkable success through word-of-mouth advertising for over the last 60 years. Bil-Jac Foods was the leader in the production and distribution of frozen dog food.
Despite what others may think, Bill's life is not completely dedicated to Bil-Jac. Bill enjoys spending time with his wife and three children. Mr. Kelly has also had a strong presence in Medina County, serving on local school, church, and bank boards of directors as well as several scholarships and endowments for local organizations.
Mr. Kelly is also an incredible advocate for Hiram College. In addition to numerous volunteer commitments to Medina County, he has consistently given his time, financial support, and scientific expertise to the College. He has served on the Alumni Executive Board and Board of Visitors, and was a lead contributor to the construction of Hiram's new Gerstacker Science Hall. He is a Fellow in Hiram's prestigious Garfield Society.
Each time Bill Kelly is honored whether nationally or locally, he comments on his liberal arts education. Without fail, he gives credit to his biology professor, J.J. Turner, for instilling in him a sense of confidence to expand upon his scientific learning. More than sixty years after his graduation from Hiram College, he continues to extol his undergraduate education. His great success and his continuous support and commitment to the College makes him most deserving of Hiram College's Alumni Achievement Award.