Dr. Darren Kelly is the associate vice president and dean of the Office of African-American Affairs (OAAA) at the University of Virginia. In his role, Darren provides strategic leadership, vision, direction, and administrative and fiscal oversight for all activities of OAAA. He directs, coordinates and evaluates all activities and support services in OAAA, including the Luther P. Jackson Black Cultural Center, the Peer Advising Program, and other critical initiatives that enhance the academic achievement of African-American students.
Prior to this appointment, Dr. Kelly served 16 years in various positions within the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin). Most recently, Dr. Kelly was the associate vice president for Academic Diversity Initiatives (ADI). The ADI portfolio consists of 5 unique units and centers: The Longhorn Center for Academic Equity, the Longhorn Center for School Partnerships, the Multicultural Engagement Center, the Gender and Sexuality Center, and Women in STEM. These units provide academic support, service learning, co-curricular, and college-readiness programming to first-generation and underrepresented students in the division’s Pre-K to Ph.D. educational pipeline on campus and across the state. From 2017-2020, Dr. Kelly served as the deputy to the vice president for diversity and community engagement, and from 2014-2017, he served as chief of staff for academic diversity initiatives.
In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Dr. Kelly maintains an active teaching and research agenda in the field of sport management. As a scholar, he conducts research centered around the holistic development of student-athletes – specifically African American student-athletes. At UT-Austin, Dr. Kelly was an assistant professor of instruction in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, where he taught the following classes: Leadership in Sport Organizations, Sociological Aspects of Sport and Physical Activity and Race and Sport in African American Life. He also serves as an organizer of the annual Black Student-Athlete Summit – a national conference focused on developing and sharing solutions to issues facing collegiate Black student-athletes.
A native of Southern California, Dr. Kelly received his Bachelor of Science in Commerce with concentrations in Finance and Marketing from the University of Virginia in 2004 and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Kinesiology with specialization in Sport Management from The University of Texas at Austin in 2009 and 2012. Dr. Kelly is a student-focused leader, a quality he attributes to his own time as a student at UVA. He recalls the warm welcome he received from his peer advisor and OAAA when he arrived in Charlottesville in the fall of 2000 as an out-of-state student and recipient of the Jerome Holland Scholarship. These experiences led him to serve as an OAAA Peer Advisor for three years while also participating in the Black Student Alliance, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and serving as a Class of 2004 Fourth-Year Trustee.
He is married to his wife Paige and enjoys watching and playing sports with his two sons, Devin (10) and Davis (8).