In memory of Laura D. Kelley ’82, Titan alumni rededicate her garden and revitalize her scholarship fund
“The Class of 1982 has always had a big presence at reunions, and during our 40th reunion last year we reminisced about good times and marveled at how the school has grown,” wrote Mary Evans ’82. At that event last fall, she and Bret Luter ’82 began reflecting on the memory of their fellow classmate, Laura Kelley ’82, who passed away in the fall of 1982 during her first semester at James Madison University.
At that time, to honor her memory, her family and friends established a scholarship in her name, and a memorial garden on Trinity’s campus, which had been relocated during the construction of the Estes Athletic Center. The Laura D. Kelley ’82 Memorial Scholarship, a $500 cash award for college tuition, has been given to a senior Trinity student each year since the late 1980s. Chosen by senior class officers and faculty sponsors, the recipient is a graduating senior who shows “unending service, dependability, genuine respect for others and unselfishness for the benefit of others and the school.”
“We soon learned that the scholarship has been funded by the school in recent years due to a lack of contributions,” wrote Evans. She, Luter and Karl Kelley ’78 (Laura’s brother) resolved to reach out to the class of 1982 to rebuild the scholarship’s principal. “We were blown away by the response! Our amazing classmates, together with friends of Laura’s, contributed $10,000, which will fund the scholarship for many years!”
Their goal was met just in time for the May 2023 Awards Assembly, when Evans herself presented the honor to senior Henry Caudle ’23 for his kind, dependable, and compassionate quiet leadership in the classroom, on the fields and in the community.
In celebration of this recent success, fellow Titan alumni who knew Kelley gathered with faculty and administrators during Homecoming Weekend on Saturday, October 7, 2023 to rededicate the Laura Kelley ’82 Memorial Garden and remember their friend.
At the rededication ceremony, Evans read a fitting quote from her mother in the 1982 Shield yearbook that Evans felt summed up her personality: “You can't have any fun if you behave; you've just got to shine a little.”
“She always had a smile on her face, and she always had time to talk,” recalled Evans. “So I think that her legacy will continue to shine on through her scholarship and through this beautiful garden.”