Texas A&M University provides students with unique leadership and service opportunities that promote personal and professional growth. John K. Kelty, Class of 2016, is utilizing these experiences to expand and develop his skills in preparation for launching forward in his career.



Kelty came to Texas A&M University as a veteran of the United States Navy, having served from July 2007 to July 2012. As part of the crash and salvage division for the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, he supervised 25 sailors who responded and resolved all emergency situations on the flight deck. His leadership and responsibilities also included being the Command Fitness Leader for 175 of those same sailors. It was his passion for health and fitness which lead him into the Sport Management major at Texas A&M, but it wasn’t until his sophomore year that a friend recommended he apply for a position at Recreation Sports.


He began at an entry level position in the strength and conditioning unit, but quickly moved up the ladder. Within only a few semesters, the professional staff began to take notice of his unbelievable work ethic and exceptional ability to deal with both customers and staff. After continuously receiving positive feedback from both student staff members and patrons regarding all of his strengths, Kelty was promoted to the supervisor position.


Kelty helps to oversee one of the most heavily used spaces in the recreation center, directly supervises 60 personnel, and participates in the Recreation Sports Student Advisory Council, all while also being a full time student. The strength and conditioning area sees an average of 2,500 to 3,000 patrons daily, with additional plans for growth, but Kelty takes this all in stride and has even been able use his experiences with Recreation Sports to secure a job with the Frisco Rough Riders before he graduates in May.


Kelty’s extraordinary work ethic, leadership and foresight is something he carries with him in all aspects of his life and hopes to instill in the student staff he oversees. He takes advantage of the opportunities placed before him to better himself and his future. From networking with guest speakers that come to his class, to connecting with old references while on vacation, Kelty does not let an opportunity pass him by. “I am actually retaking a sports sales class I got an A in because the class is now being taught by a new professor and offers a certification,” said Kelty. He continues by saying, “College is a catapult into our prospective careers. But how you spend your college years will determine if you launch forward with great purpose or barely move out the door.”


Launching forward is just what Kelty aims to do. By being a part of the Recreation Sports Student Advisory Council, Kelty works alongside fellow student supervisors, associate directors and the Director of Recreation Sports to give student insight and prospective to upcoming projects and ideas. “I get to work alongside some of the best leaders in this industry, who wouldn’t want that! I get to learn from them, but also learn with them. I am without a doubt more employable as a team member and leader because I have been fortunate to earn the right to be here,” Kelty said.


While Kelty has been successful in many aspects, he does acknowledge experiencing a learning curve as well. “Working in the strength and conditioning area has helped me in many ways. Not only did it provide a wonderful transition for me from military to civilian life, it taught me patience and communication. Interacting with a variety of people on a daily basis means each person communicates differently and you have to be patient while listening to them and addressing their needs in a way they can understand,” said Kelty.


Through the combination of actively seeking opportunities and the willingness to learn, John Kelty has been an example many students should strive after. Assistant Director of Recreation Sports Communications, Kelly VonDrehle said, “John Kelty has been one of the top student employees that Texas A&M Recreation Sports has had the honor to work with. In addition to all of Kelty’s accomplishments, he is also a proud Navy Veteran and die-hard Aggie. He does inspire a wide variety of students.”


Learning to take initiative and go after opportunity, is what has helped Kelty become the accomplished leader he is. Kelty states, “Leadership development should be part of your toolkit, but it is never complete and should never feel complete. It should be ever-growing.”