John J. Kennelly obtained his BAgrSc (First Class Hons) from University College Dublin in 1976 and his PhD from the University of Alberta in 1980. He served for 10 years as Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta. His tenure as dean saw the transformation of the Faculty to being one of the most research intensive faculties at the University of Alberta with a doubling of graduate student numbers, undergraduate programs being revitalized, international student numbers tripling as the Faculty focussed on the twin pillars of environmental sustainability, and food and nutritional security.
Dr. Kennelly has served as President of GCHERA (Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences) since 2013. GCHERA member associations represent over 900 agricultural and life science universities across five continents and its mission is to encourage global co-operation and leadership in education, research and outreach in agricultural and life sciences. Dr Kennelly serves on a number of international boards and committees including the Steering Committee of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and the Steering Committee of the Tropical Agriculture Program (TAP).
Dr. Kennelly is a strong believer in connecting the university to the community and throughout his career he built excellent relationships with key industry and government partners. He worked closely with a broad range of producer and industry stakeholders to help ensure that university research is translated into practice. He was instrumental in the establishment of Agri-Food Discovery Place at the University of Alberta – a Centre that is dedicated to bringing academia and industry together to help bridge the gap between university research and commercialization of new products, processes and services.
Dr. Kennelly is a champion of the central role of nutrition in maintaining a healthy population and he sees nutrition as having a crucial role in combating the global epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Dr. Kennelly personal research has focussed on nutrition and lactation physiology. His research group have contributed to the understanding of the influence of nutrition and genetics on the composition of milk with particular emphasis on increasing milk fatty acids that have important health attributes. He considers one of his most significant outreach accomplishment to be the establishment of the Western Canadian Dairy Conference in the early 1980s where he served as Program Director for 22 years. Today the conference attracts about 800 people annually and is considered one of the premier dairy industry conferences in the world.
Dr Kennelly was inducted into the Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2016 and he is a Fellow of the Agriculture Institute of Canada, the Canadian Society of Animal Science and the International College of Nutrition. Other awards include the 2011 Distinguished Agrologist Award, the Arthur G. McCalla Professorship, the American Society of Animal Science Ruminant Nutrition Award, and the Earl W. Crampton Award for Distinguished Service in Nutrition. He is the recipient of numerous awards from the Canadian Society of Animal Science including their Young Scientist Award, the Award for Excellence in Nutrition and Meat Science, and the Canadian Society of Animal Science Animal Industries Award in Extension and Public Service. Publications include over 150 refereed journal articles as well as numerous book chapters, conference proceedings and extension articles.