Suffolk University Senior Meghan Kelly Learning Valuable Lessons in Iraq

9/5/2003

For more information, please contact: Tony Ferullo at 617-573-8448

Unlike many of her peers, Meghan Kelly, a senior at Suffolk University, will not be attending classes during the fall semester.

That’s because the 25-year-old Bellingham resident is in Iraq, serving our country as part of the United States Military Intelligence team. She was pressed into action in February and has orders to serve active duty for at least one year.

“Like any good daughter, she tries to call once a week,” said Beth Kelly, Meghan’s mom. “She misses home. It’s unbearably hot in the desert.”

While she is totally confident in her daughter’s ability to handle herself, Beth Kelly, a homemaker, can’t wait to see Meghan again and give her a big hug.

“I worry,” she said, “and I do it very well.”

Sgt. Meghan Kelly represents Bravo Company, 325 Military Intelligence Battalion of Waterbury, Connecticut. Her skills as a translator of the Arabic language have been vitally important, particularly since she has been directly involved with the interrogation of prisoners of war and other civilians within the former government of Iraq.

 
Meghan Kelly, second from left, consults a local business owner in Tikrit, Iraq.
She is very proud to serve her country,” said Chris Kelly, Meghan’s dad and a 1976 Suffolk University graduate. “She has transformed herself into a solid soldier and a grown woman at the same time.”

Meghan Kelly graduated from New Milford High School in Connecticut in 1996, an honor roll student ranked 89 out of a class of 261. Upon receiving her diploma, she attended the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) in Monterey, California, a place where she studied the Arabic language for many hours on a daily basis.

“I went to visit her twice,” said Beth Kelly. “Meghan was there with good people – the best and the brightest.”

After graduating from the DLIFLC in 1998, Kelly entered her freshman year at Suffolk. During that time, she also joined the United States Army Reserve. In the aftermath of 9/11, she was called into active duty, stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina from the end of October 2001, until September 2002.

She then returned to Suffolk, attending classes and reuniting with friends as a Communication & Journalism major. She maintained a 3.5 grade point average and was on schedule to graduate in May, before she was called into active duty once again earlier this year.

In Iraq, she shares a tent with seven other women military personnel, sleeping on a cot and dreaming of better days ahead. Her family, which also includes her brother, Brian, 18, sends her a package of goods roughly once a week, including hygiene products, seashells from Cape Cod (to leave in the sand in Iraq), nuts, dried fruit, jellybeans and hard candy.

“We’ve always tried to support her as best we could,” said Beth Kelly. “She was a normal kid growing up; she took tap dancing and everything else. She doesn’t like to stay still for long. She felt going into the Army would help her grow and be a good experience.”

“The Army has taught Meghan to become disciplined and organized,” said Chris Kelly, a commercial banker. “I feel she will become quite a successful person when this is all over.”

Sgt. Meghan Kelly plans on continuing her college education at Suffolk (she is 12 credits short from graduating) when she returns from Iraq. Her parents greatly appreciate how flexible Suffolk has been over the years, helping their daughter each step of the way to fulfill her educational goals and supporting her military responsibilities.

“Suffolk has been wonderful through all of this,” said Beth Kelly. “The school has embraced Meghan and her professors have been great.”

Robert Rosenthal, Chairman of the Communication and Journalism Department at Suffolk University, feels that Kelly is currently learning a wide range of valuable lessons that extend beyond the classroom walls.

“The work Meghan has done interacting with people from all over the world has been tremendous,” said Rosenthal, who serves as Kelly’s adviser. “Her experiences in the military will help her upon graduation. She has a very bright future.”

Suffolk University, located on Boston’s historic Beacon Hill, with campuses in Madrid, Spain and Dakar, Senegal (Africa), is a comprehensive global institution distinguished by its teaching and the intellectual contributions of its faculty. Suffolk offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs in more than 70 areas of study. Its mission is to provide quality education at an affordable cost for students of all ages and backgrounds. Suffolk has a combined enrollment of more than 7,000 full-time and part-time students at its Law School, College of Arts and Sciences and Sawyer School of Management.

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