The Honorable Francis X. Kelly and Carroll Student Address Graduates at 25th Commencement Ceremony

Release Date
Trish McCarthy Carroll, Public & Corporate Relations Officer, Carroll Community College, Work: 410-386-8184
Press Release

Westminster, Md., April 27, 2018—Carroll Community College (Carroll) President Dr. James D. Ball announces that The Honorable Francis X. Kelly, former Maryland state senator and co-founder and Chairman of KELLY, will serve as Commencement speaker. He will offer words of congratulations, acknowledgement and inspiration during the ceremony in honor of Carroll’s graduates.

Francis X Kelly

Kelly is an exemplary role model for his commitment to public service, business, and civic involvement. First elected to the Maryland General Assembly in 1979 to represent parts of Carroll and Baltimore County, he completed his service in 1990. Kelly has a long history of generously giving back to his community, and continues to serve as an adviser to state and local institutions. He is a graduate of Villanova University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and served six years in the Army National Guard.


A resident of Hunt Valley, Md., Kelly and his wife Janet founded their company in 1976 in the basement of their home. The firm is now one of Maryland’s fastest growing privately held firms and is one of the region’s leading health insurance broker/administrator with nearly 13,000 corporate clients.   

Kelly has made impressive contributions to the higher education community. In 1996, he was asked by the Baltimore County executive and legislative leaders to create the Community College of Baltimore County. As board chair, he consolidated three separate colleges (Catonsville, Essex and Dundalk) into a single, multi-campus institution. Kelly served on the University System of Maryland Board of Regents and on the Morgan State University Board of Regents for 14 years. 

APassion for Philanthropy
The Kellys have committed much of their time and talent to philanthropy. They were recently named Philanthropists of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. They have been honored by the Children’s Guild, which named its Autism Center after them.

The Commencement speaker is immediate past chair of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and remains on its board. Kelly was named the inaugural inductee in TheBaltimore Sun’s Maryland Business and Civic Hall of Fame, as well as the Catholic Business person of the year by the Catholic Business Network of Baltimore. He has received numerous awards and accolades for his volunteer work and community involvement.

A RoleModel for Students; An Inspiring Message
“The Honorable Francis Kelly epitomizes what it takes to become a success story both professionally and personally,” said College President Dr. James D. Ball. “His capacity and willingness to give back to the community, his focus on family and genuine humility speak to his admirable character. I am truly honored that he accepted my invitation to serve as our 25thAnniversary Commencement speaker. I know our graduates will benefit immensely from listening to such an inspirational leader.”

“I am deeply humbled to serve as Commencement speaker for the graduating students of Carroll Community College,” said Kelly. “Higher education is close to my heart. As I look out over the faces of proud graduates, family members and friends, I believe that my personal journey will resonate with them. I applaud the graduates’ commitment towards pursuing great endeavors in the future and hope they will be inspired to fully engage in civic and charitable works in their communities.”



Class of 2018 Student Ella Breden Serves as Student Speaker 

Ella Breden

Class of 2018 student Ella Breden will be the student speaker. She will address her fellow graduates during the ceremony. “When I was invited to be the student speaker, I was immediately excited. Having such a prestigious platform to express my love for Carroll is the opportunity of a lifetime. This is my chance to describe the values and experiences with which Carroll has gifted me,” she said.


Academicsand Interests
Breden is a second year student and a Hill Scholar at Carroll. She is president of the Student Government Organization, vice president of Leadership for Carroll’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, vice president of Marketing for the Campus Activities Board and a student ambassador for the College. She works in the Student Life office and in the Foundation office as a student graphic designer. 

After the successful completion of an internship with the Maryland General Assembly, Breden was hired as a staffer for District 5 Delegate April Rose. She was also selected for the All-Maryland Academic team. Breden plans to transfer to the University of Maryland, College Park to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art with a graphic design track.

Carroll’sRole in Breden’s Success
“In my speech, I will thank my peers, mentors and professors for their support of my endeavors during my time here.” she said. “I have experienced, grown and learned more than I ever thought possible. Being a Hill Scholar, involving myself with so many clubs and organizations, being encouraged to step outside of my major to round-out my skill- set and working on campus, have given me so many opportunities to evolve as a student, a leader and a friend. Carroll has changed my life forever!”


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Carroll Community College offers academic and career preparation leading to transfer to four-year colleges and universities, and for direct entry into professional opportunities. Personalized learning, small class size, individualized attention from expert faculty, affordability, a convenient location, and customized training and services to the business community all make Carroll a popular choice. Since 1993, the College has served more than 130,000 students of all ages and backgrounds. Carroll Community College is located at 1601 Washington Road, Westminster, Md., 21157. Visit us on our website at