Over his professional career, Dr. Kevin Donnelly has called home to a few different states in the Midwest, but he now resides in Wildcat Country. Dr. Donnelly was raised on a farm in Dickinson County. When he was an undergraduate student at K-State his original plan was to go back and farm. Dr. Donnelly said it was the encouragement from his high school math teacher that influenced where he would eventually end up.
Dr. Donnelly graduated with his B.S. in 1972 from K-State. Upon completing his Masters in agronomy in 1974, Donnelly taught at Hutchinson Community College for three years. From 1978-1983, Donnelly was an instructor and administrative assistant while he completed his Doctorate in agronomy at Colorado State. For the next 15 years he taught in the Agronomy Department at Oklahoma State University. In 1998 he applied for the Assistant Dean position in the K-State College of Agriculture. After working in the College of Agriculture Office for 10 years, Donnelly filled a position that brought him back to the classroom.
“I didn’t leave the administration position because I didn’t like it, but the opportunity to return to what I was doing before was something that I wanted to do.” Donnelly said. “It is neat to be back and have the chance to teach agronomy again at the end of my career.”
In working in many different educational environments, Dr. Donnelly said that he has always strived to provide a good first experience for future agronomists. Knowing that his original career goal is not where he eventually wound up, Dr. Donnelly has a bit of wisdom to offer undergraduate students.
“Your time at K-State is a very unique window in your life to get a good education. You won’t get that chance again, and it is a very busy time,” Donnelly said. “Make sure to balance your academics with other opportunities in a way that will allow you to be successful in college.”
Outside of the classroom, Dr. Donnelly plays a large role as co-advisor for the Wheat State Agronomy Club and coach of the K-State Crops Teams. He said working with students outside the classroom is just as rewarding as teaching. In his spare time Dr. Donnelly enjoys spending time with his family and helping his wife with her business. He is most often found building or fixing things.
“My philosophy is that if I can’t fix it at first, I will keep working at it to find a way to do it. That usually pays off,” he said.