Campus & Community

Kennedy School’s Kelly nabs Rhodes

2 min read
Naval Academy graduate William Kelly, now pursuing a master’s degree in public policy at the Kennedy School, is Harvard’s Rhodes Scholar this year. (Staff photo Jon Chase/Harvard News Office)

William Kelly, a 2005 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who is pursuing a master’s degree in public policy at the Kennedy School, is Harvard’s only Rhodes Scholar this year. Kelly, who grew up in New York City, said his educational and life choices have been guided by two long-standing interests – flying and international relations. He attributes his love of flying to the influence of his grandparents, both aeronautical engineers who helped design Navy fighter planes. Kelly began taking flying lessons at 15 and got his flying license at 17. He was on the Naval Academy flying team and plans to enter Naval Flight School in Pensacola, Fla., after his stint at Oxford University. At the Naval Academy, he majored in international relations and sees that field of study as a perfect complement to the role of a combat officer.”I think it’s important for military officers who are engaged overseas to have an understanding of international relations,” he said.Now holding the rank of ensign, Kelly is considering two programs offered at Oxford – International Relations and Global Governance – and plans to make a choice with the help of advisers at Oxford and in the United States Navy. Whichever one he chooses, he believes it will help him in his dual career as a military leader and policymaker.”If I’m fortunate enough to be promoted to a certain level, I can expect to be spending time serving in the Pentagon helping to formulate military policy,” he said.Kelly said that being a naval officer offers him all the opportunities he could ever ask for – the chance to fly, to serve his country, and to work with a tight-knit family of fellow naval personnel. But he also places a great value on the training he has received at the Kennedy School.”I am a Naval Academy Rhodes Scholar, but I’m also very proud to be a student at the Kennedy School. It’s a really unique program and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”