Former healthcare executive receives Sparrow's highest honor

Published: March 15, 2011

Lansing, Mich. - Kevin A. Kelly, former executive director of the Michigan Medical Society and former chair of the Sparrow Foundation Board of Directors was posthumously recognized today with Sparrow Health System's highest honor, the 2011 Sparrow Founders' Award. Accepting the award for Kelly, who died in 2008, was his wife, Jamie.

"Kevin Kelly was one of the giants of healthcare in mid-Michigan," said Greg Brogan, chair of the Sparrow Board of Directors. "His many contributions to healthcare and to community organizations throughout our community set a standard for excellence that remains in place today."

Kelly served the 16,000-member MSMS his entire career, beginning shortly after graduating from Michigan State University in 1979 in economics. He started as a legislative coordinator in 1979. In 1987, Mr. Kelly became managing director and in 2005,was named executive director.

Over the course of his career, Kelly received many awards and accolades including: The Michigan State University Distinguished Alumni Award; The American Medical Association's Medical Executive Achievement Award; The Michigan Society of Association Executives Strategic Association Leader Award; and, the Vernice Davis Anthony Ele's Place Award for his leadership of that agency's efforts to counsel grieving children.

"He was a very special person," Brogan said. "He had tremendous energy and vision combined with an unsurpassed dedication and commitment to providing quality healthcare in our community."

Sparrow's Founder's Award is the highest individual honor bestowed by the Sparrow Health System. Past recipients include former Sparrow Board chairperson Lance Lynch; philanthropist and community leader Virginia Hilbert; Sparrow volunteer and longtime board member Evelyn Scheffel; former Sparrow President and CEO F. Karl Neumann; Mason businessman Frank Guerriero; community leader Duane Vernon; former Sparrow Vice President and Director of Nursing Sue Tadgerson; former Sparrow Health System Board Chairs, Marylee Davis, PhD and Mary Jessup; former Michigan State University Athletic Director Ron Mason; TV-10 sports anchor Tim Staudt; and legendary physicians Dr. William Harrison, Dr. Mahlon Sharp and Dr. Joseph Sheets.

The celebration marks Sparrow's 115h year of service to the mid-Michigan community. Founded in 1896 by a group of 114 women volunteers, the organization got its start as Lansing Women's Hospital and was rebuilt as Sparrow Hospital at its current site at 1215 E. Michigan Avenue in 1912, taking the name of Lansing businessman and benefactor Edward W. Sparrow.