Elizabeth (LaMalfa) Kelly ’83 has always lived her life committed to her core beliefs and values—her Catholic faith, her family, and education—not just in speech, but also in action.
Elizabeth (Beth) arrived on campus in 1979, with dreams of becoming a teacher. Saint Anselm had almost everything she was looking for—a strong liberal arts education rooted in Catholicism, as well as being close to her brother, a student at Merrimack College. At the time, however, Saint Anselm did not have an education department. The college worked with her to solve this problem, and she was able to take additional classes at Notre Dame College in Manchester. She loved her time on the Hilltop—living at Croydan Court, celebrating Bonfire weekend, and ending the week with Sunday night mass at the Abbey Church. In 1983, she graduated with a double major in English and Elementary education.
After graduation, she moved back to Connecticut to begin working as an elementary school teacher, while also keeping in touch with her friends from the Hilltop. A close friend from Saint Anselm introduced her to her husband, John. Together they shared the same values, as well as a love of sports, which continues today. Eventually, Beth received a master’s degree in remedial reading and language arts from Central Connecticut State University that allowed her to work as a reading specialist. She stayed connected to Saint Anselm, returning to campus for homecomings and reunions, which helped her to stay in touch with friends who lived outside of Connecticut.
Life changed drastically when, in 1995, Beth and John moved with their infant son, Chris, to Puerto Rico on a short-term assignment with Pfizer. They ended up living in Puerto Rico for 11 years. While there, Beth learned some Spanish, taught kindergarten at the local international school, and served as a religious education teacher at their local parish. John and Beth had two more sons, Thomas and Andrew, and all three grew up bilingual.
In 2007, the family moved back to Connecticut. Beth reconnected with Saint Anselm and began serving as a member of the board of trustees in 2012, where she has been an engaged and active member, serving on presidential search committees, the student engagement committee, and the facilities committee, which was key to developing the Living & Learning Commons, the Jean Student Center, and the Welcome Center.
Beth loves to look at the transformations seen on campus—a parking lot that is now the green quad in front of Joan of Arc, as well as returning to the Abbey Church, a place that has always kept her centered. Saint Anselm has changed since Beth graduated, but she believes what hasn’t changed is the college’s mission to be a community that is inclusive and welcoming.
“My advice to alums would be that if you get the chance, come back to campus, find those friends you lost touch with, and meet them back on the Hilltop,” she says. “Attend a sporting event, come back for a lecture, because when you do that, you reconnect with the school and realize why you chose Saint Anselm College.”
Five years ago, Beth and John decided to make an additional commitment to the college, and, after her years of experience in the education field, set up the Kelly Family Scholarship Fund to provide ongoing financial aid support to students.
“High school is a tough time for students,” she says. “They can experience self-doubt as they try to figure out where they are going and what they want to do.” With this scholarship, Beth’s hope is to remove some of the financial burden from their decision, allowing students to create a new chapter in their life.
Since establishing the scholarship, Beth and her family have enjoyed hearing from the students who received the scholarships, and find their words drive home the importance of giving back. They hope the students recognize that their Anselmian experience does not end with graduation. They should try to stay connected, and when they can, pay it forward.