College & Community Relations

Aims bestows Fellows honor to late CFO; memorial scholarship established

Submitted on: 05-16-2013

At its May meeting, the Aims Community College Board of Trustees posthumously awarded Michael Kelly the 2013 Aims Fellows award.

Kelly began working at Aims in 2005, and quickly worked his way up to become the college’s Chief Administrative Officer — serving in that role until his death in December 2012.

He was nominated for the distinction by Aims Purchasing Director Dorene Boyd, who cited his strong guidance in fiscal matters related to the college’s sustainability.

“Mike’s devotion to Aims was clearly apparent,” Boyd said in the nomination. “He worked extremely hard to keep the College’s budget goals. His abilities, knowledge and wise judgments were an incredible resource for keeping the college strong during the difficult times.”

At Aims, Kelly was known for a strong work ethic, balanced with a healthy sense of humor. Aims employees remember fondly his over-the-top Halloween costumes and decorations, including a talking pirate that greeted everyone who dared to enter Financial Services during the season. For him, revelry was not an isolated occasion, and many photos capture the memory of Kelly wearing a blue grand poobah hat at a parade celebrating the opening of the Promenade this past summer.

“Mike is best remembered for his love of life,” said Aims President Marsi Liddell. “Mike was the real thing. He thoroughly enjoyed being with people, and his ubiquitous smile was contagious. I miss him every day.”

Board Chair Walt Richter said employees described Kelly with words like “devotion, hard worker, judicious,” adding that he was a delight to work with.

In addition to guiding Aims’ fiscal solvency, Kelly served on the Aims Foundation Board, Windsor’s town board, the Poudre Trail River Board, the Colorado Department of Higher Education’s CFO Board, as well as the Colorado Diversified Trust Board.

Dr. Susan Kelly, Mike’s widow, attended the meeting to accept the award along with two of the Kelly’s four children, Thomas and Christian; his parents, Wilma and Grover; and his sister, Shawna Cecil.

“I think you picked the right guy for the award,” she said. “Mike loved this college. He was always thinking about what’s in the best interest for the students who came here and he believed so much in the mission. He just really felt that the community college plays a huge role in the betterment of the whole community.”

An endowed scholarship memorializing Kelly has been established through the Aims Community College Foundation. Contributions to this fund may be sent to the Aims Foundation at 5401 West 20th Street, Greeley CO 80634.  For more information, visit or contact Foundation Executive Director Julie Buderus at (970) 339-6583.

The Aims Fellows award was established in 2005 to recognize individuals from the community who have made outstanding contributions to higher education and/or Aims Community College. Criteria for this award include:

  • Long-standing efforts to further the goals and purposes of higher education.
  • Service as an advocate of life-long learning
  • The championing and/or supporting of students and education
  • Significant contributions to the furthering of scholarship in the state, county, community, or to the mission of the College


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