Allie May Autry

Allie May Autry was the youngest child of James Lockhart Autry II and Allie Kinsloe Autry. She was the first woman in her family to attend college. As a student at Rice she was extremely popular, elected class vice president 1921-22 and 1924-25, elected queen of May Fete 1925 and was a lifelong supporter of her alma mater.

In 1950 she donated $250,000 to Rice to build a gym that would house a basketball court in memory of her mother Allie K. Autry.  She also established the Allie Kelley Dittmar lounge in the student center, in memorial to her daugher, and generously supported the Friends of the Fondren Library.

She married Edward Watson Kelley and had two children, Edward "Mike" Watson Kelley, Jr and Allie Autry Kelley Dittmar. Col. Edward Watson Kelley was born June 12, 1896, in Newport, Rhode Island. He was a veteran of World War I and World War II. He was awarded a Purple Heart in World War I and remained in the army until 1936 when he retired with the rank of Major. He re-entered the army in 1941 and retired from service in 1944. He married Allie May Autry in 1930. He purchased the Kelley Manufacturing Co., a steel manufacturing plant in 1936.

Her eldest son, Edward “Mike” Kelley, Jr. graduated from Rice in 1954 and earned an MBA degree from Harvard in 1959. He had been on the Rice University Board of Governors for a decade, he had managed his family's business, Kelley Industries, Inc., for more than 20 years and was chairman of an investment group. In 1987, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as a member of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System. "I have always tried to make time for a very substantial amount of public service work as part of my career," Kelley explained. "And why did I pick Rice? Because Rice has always been in my blood."

Allie Autry Kelley died in 1998 at the age of 94. The Autry family legacy lives on through the family's dedication to public service and their generosity to Rice University.

Allie May Autry