• Kelly, Mary Frank
  • College/Year: Pharmacy/RC '77
  • Links to Oral History Sessions: Kelly, Mary Frank (November 3, 2022)


Born in 1954, Mary Frank Kelly grew up in Bloomfield, New Jersey. In the interview, she discusses her maternal family's Irish and Scottish roots and paternal family's Slovakian and Ukrainian roots. Her parents were both college educated. Growing up, she participated in sports and Girl Scouts and played the French horn in band, wind ensemble and orchestra. She went to the Rutgers College of Pharmacy from 1972 to 1977 and was in the first coed class at Rutgers College. At Rutgers, she played basketball on the newly-formed team until she suffered a knee injury. She played second chair French horn in the wind ensemble. In the oral history, she discusses dorm life at Davidson Hall, meeting her future spouse, memorable professors in pharmacy classes, concerts on campus, and favorite restaurants in New Brunswick. During college, she worked summers at hospitals, which led to her pursuing a career in hospital pharmacy. Over the course of her career, she worked at Hackettstown Community Hospital (now Hackettstown Medical Center) and Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. She delves into taking the pharmacy licensing exam, different roles carried out by pharmacists working in hospitals, gender in the profession, changes in the handling of controlled substances, challenges working in a hospital setting, and the consolidation of health care networks. She was involved in the Warren County Committee and the library board in Hackettstown.

This interview is a part of the Pioneering Women of Rutgers College Project, an oral history project documenting the experiences of the first women to attend Rutgers College after it became coeducational in 1972. The project is a collaboration between the Rutgers Oral History Archives, Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences, and Institute for Women's Leadership.

The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2021-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.