​Life and Diamond Member, Doris Bruce Kelly, celebrates 100th Birthday

August 12, 2017


Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated’s Life and Diamond Member, Doris Bruce Kelly, celebrated the milestone of her 100th birthday at a luncheon in her honor on July 22, 2017 surrounded by family, friends and members of her beloved sorority.

Her love for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority started in 1938 where she was initiated into the Alpha Psi Chapter on the campus of Tennessee State University. Over the course of her 75-year-plus membership, she has served as vice president, recording secretary, corresponding secretary, and reporter to the Ivy Leaf magazine, to name a few.

“As one of our treasured Diamond members, Mrs. Kelly has helped set the example of what lifelong service in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated is all about,” said Mary B. Conner, South Eastern Regional Director. “Her devotion over the years to our beloved sorority and her continuous service as an active member of Pi Omega Chapter inspires each of us to remain engaged in the important work of serving others.”

A long-time educator, Mrs. Kelly has never lost her passion for shaping the lives of young people. Many in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area revere her as a mentor who freely shares her wisdom and experiences to help others reach their fullest potential.

In 1947, she began her career as a registrar at Howard High where she spent 13 years. She also taught business math and later vocational education courses. Mrs. Kelly is also credited with integrating the healthcare giant BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee when she began working with then-Vice President James R. McGuff to identify qualified applicants of color for various positions within the company. She is a past president of the Chattanooga Education Association – only the second African-American to serve in this leadership role – and has been involved with the National Education Association, of which she is a life member, and the American Association of University Women, where she served as treasurer.

Throughout the years, Mrs. Kelly has received many honors including “Teacher of the Year,” “Outstanding Classroom Teacher,” and “Teacher of the Year for East Tennessee,” in which she was one of five finalists for the state’s highest award in 1970. Additionally, she has been honored by BlueCross BlueShield at its 7th Annual Black History Month celebration, as well as an honoree at Pi Omega Chapter’s 90th Gala Celebration.

Mrs. Kelly earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Tennessee State, and continued her education through post graduate studies at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, the University of North Dakota, Middle Tennessee State University, and Northwestern University. She remains actively engaged and still enjoys solving puzzles and reading.