College Directory

Kathleen S. Kelly, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA

Professor - Department of Public Relations

Office: 3056 Weimer Phone: 352-392-9359 Email:


Dr. Kelly is an internationally recognized authority on public relations and fundraising. She is the author of two award-winning books and more than 70 articles, book chapters, monographs, and refereed papers.  Her teaching areas include public relations principles, strategy, campaign management, public relations foundations, theories of public relations, fundraising, and philanthropy.  Her research interests focus on organization-public relationships, particularly donor relations. Dr. Kelly has 17 years of professional experience as a fundraiser and public relations practitioner.

Dr. Kelly is the recipient of the three highest awards in public relations teaching and research: the Outstanding Educator Award (Public Relations Society of American [PRSA], 2004), the Jackson Jackson and Wagner Behavioral Science Prize (PRSA Foundation, 1999), and the Pathfinder Award (Institute for Public Relations, 1995).  Only nine other educators in the nation have achieved this distinction.

Dr. Kelly is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society, an invitation-only, professional association composed of the chief communication officers (CCOs) of the world’s largest corporations, the CEOs of the leading public relations agencies, and a few distinguished academics from public relations and business.  She also is an elected member of PRSA’s College of Fellows.  She served 12 years as a trustee of the Institute for Public Relations and represented PRSA on the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC) for seven years.  She was a member of the executive committees of both the 1999 and 2006 National Commissions on Public Relations Education.

Print schedule


Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1989
M.A., University of Maryland, 1979
B.S., University of Maryland, 1973


  • Tindall, N. T. J., *Waters, R. D., & Kelly K. S. (2015). A fractured glass ceiling in fundraising? Examining the careers of minority healthcare fundraisers using role theory. In R. D. Waters (Ed.), Public relations in the nonprofit sector: Theory and practice pp. 27-41). New York: Routledge.
  • Cho, M., & Kelly, K. S. (2014). Corporate donor-charitable organization partners: A coorientation study of relationship types. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 43(4), 693-715. DOI: 10.1177/0899764013480566
  •  Kelly, K. S. (2013). Betsy A. Plank. In R. L. Heath (Ed.), Encyclopedia of public relations (2nd ed.; pp. 651-654). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Kelly, K. S. (2013). Fundraising. In R. L. Heath (Ed.), Encyclopedia of public relations (2nd ed.; pp. 374-378). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Kelly, K. S. (2013). Philanthropy. In R. L. Heath (Ed.), Encyclopedia of public relations (2nd ed; pp. 646-649). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Kelly, K. S. (2013). Public relations. In the College Board, Book of majors 2014 (8th ed.; pp. 163-165). New York: College Board.
  • Waters, R. D., Kelly, K. S., & Walker, M. L. (2012). Organizational roles enacted by healthcare fundraisers: A national study testing theory and assessing gender differences. Journal of Communication Management, 16(3), 244-263. DOI: 10.1108/13632541211245802
  • Kelly, K. S. (2010, December). Philanthropy for public relations education: 2010 follow-up study (24 pp.). Commission for Public Relations Education. Available at
  • Kelly, K. S., Laskin, A. V., & Rosenstein, G. A.  (2010). Investor relations: Two-way symmetrical practice. Journal of Public Relations Research, 22(2), 182-208. DOI: 10.1080/10627261003601630
  • Kelly, K. S. (2008). Fundraising. In W. Donsbach (Ed.), International encyclopedia of communication, 5 (pp. 1914-1917). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Kelly, K. S., Thompson, M. F., & Waters, R. (2006). Improving the way we die: A coorientation study assessing agreement/disagreement in the organization-public relationship of hospices and physicians. Journal of Health Communication, 11(6), 607-727.
  • Kelly, K.S. (2007, April).  Preparing students for the future:  It’s time for PR pros and academics to go back to school on internships, Public Relations Tactics, 14, pp.10 &22.  Monthly tabloid of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
  • Kelly, K.S. & Galloway, C.D. (2007, Winter).  Educator + practitioner = detonation or dynamic duo?  Public Relations Strategist, 13, pp. 28-33.  Quarterly journal of PRSA.


Dr. Kelly is widely recognized as the leading authority on fundraising as a specialization of public relations. She is the sole author of two award-winning books on fundraising, including the first and—as of 2014—the only theoretically grounded textbook on the subject: Effective Fund-Raising Management (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998). Her research has been published in leading refereed journals in communication and nonprofit management, including Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Public Relations Research, Nonprofit Management & Leadership, and Journal of Health Communication. She has won the top research awards from the leading public relations and fundraising associations, such as the Public Relations Society of America and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Dr. Kelly’s work deals with such sub-topics as nonprofit management, ethics, law and philanthropy.

Research Keywords

Public relations, Relationship management, Fundraising, Philanthropy, Nonprofit management, Communication processes, Nonprofit ethics and law.

Research Areas

  • Nonprofits, Social Marketing, and Philanthropy
  • Public Relationships, Partnerships and Coalitions



Syllabi from the current and three previous semesters: