Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)

Community College of Allegheny County

Frances Kelly

CCAC Alumna Gives Back to the College through Tutoring, Scholarship Fund

When Fran Kelly graduated from St. Benedict Academy in 1964, she had no intention of immediately attending college. “I could’ve received scholarships, but I wanted to pursue a job in the medical field,” she says.

Although getting a job was her main priority, Fran knew she would eventually obtain a degree. She went to the state employment office and after completing a variety of tests, Fran was hired by Allegheny General Hospital in the animal research department where she investigated the effects of radiation and chemotherapy on animals.

Shortly thereafter Fran was approached by the medical director of the radiation oncology department. The director offered her a position to work with patients. The move was a good one for Fran. Not only were the fields of radiation therapy and oncology just starting to take off, she also met her future husband who was working on a fellowship in radiation oncology.

In 1968, at her supervisor’s suggestion, Fran registered in radiation therapy. At that time Fran was the only registered radiation therapist in the city of Pittsburgh. Fran then moved to the radiation oncology department at Mercy Hospital where she worked throughout the 1970s. As the ‘70s came to an end, Fran decided she was ready to attend college. She enrolled in the radiation therapy program at CCAC’s Allegheny Campus in the fall of 1980.

While attending classes on a part-time basis, Fran continued to work in the field. After she obtained her AS from CCAC in 1984, she transferred to the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). She continued taking classes on a part-time basis and began working as a clinical instructor in the radiation therapy program at CCAC. In 1988, Fran completed her BS in health related professions at Pitt.

Upon receiving her degree from Pitt, Fran was offered a position at Mercy Hospital as a supervisor in the radiation oncology department, where she worked until 1992. Fran took a hiatus from working full time, from 1992 to 1996, but casually continued to work in the field. In 1996, she returned to Mercy Hospital when a satellite facility was opened in the South Hills. After a few years at the facility, Fran decided to retire.

Yet, in 1999 when Elizabeth Harkay, faculty program director for CCAC’s radiation therapy program called Fran to ask if she would accept the role of clinical coordinator for the program, Fran readily agreed. “At CCAC, I had excellent professors, and I thought I learned a lot from them,” she says. “I wanted to transmit all the knowledge I had from working in the field for 30 years to current students.”

Now, 10 years later, Fran continues to work with CCAC students, but no longer as a clinical coordinator. In September 2006, she had to give up her job because her eyesight began to gradually decline. “I am now legally blind and the doctors cannot find a cause for it,” she says. “It’s been very frustrating.”

Despite these challenging circumstances, Fran continues to lead a full life and is an avid hiker and gardener. Because she can no longer teach, Fran works at CCAC as a tutor. In March 2007, she established a scholarship in memory of her husband, Edward Rogow, MD. Her gift of $25,000 is the largest individual gift ever bestowed from a member of the CCAC alumni or faculty. Fran was instrumental in the awarding of the scholarship, and currently tutors the awardees. “It’s rewarding to work with them on an individual basis,” she says. “My husband would be happy that I used the money to help students.”

As an alumna, former teacher and current tutor, Fran Kelly continues her ties with CCAC: “As far as I’m concerned, classes here are as good as they are anywhere else. You have the chance to experience a lot of different things here. CCAC students need to take advantage of all the opportunities that CCAC offers.”

Editor's note: In July 2007, Fran Kelly provided an additional $10,000 for the Edward Rogow, MD Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is available to cover tuition, books, fees, transportation and/or childcare costs for a full-time Radiation Therapy Technology student at CCAC who maintains a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Fran Kelly headshot

Frances Kelly