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Pat Kelly and Joel Mullner: For Starting the Biggest Campus Tradition

May 3rd, 2007

Over 1400 luminaries glowing around the campus.  Close to 900 dedicated participants walking in the wee hours of the night, their smiles never fading.  More than $76,000 raised for a cause that affects millions of people.  After the weekend was over, seniors and Relay For Life co-chairs Pat Kelly and Joel Mullner have something to be proud of.
After three years of trying and many setbacks from the university and the city, Kelly and Mullner were finally able to bring the event to JCU, producing what has been said to be the best thing to come to the university.
“I had the idea a few years ago,” Kelly said. “I’ve been involved with Relay since I was a kid and wanted to bring it here.” Along with the help of classmates, Kelly created a proposal and presented it to university administrators.  Concerns of having an outside, overnight event, though, kept him from gaining the support he needed.
A year later Kelly decided to try again, this time with the help of Mullner for his connections with the administration, Kelly said. By the end of last semester, the latest proposal, including support from the newly created organization Colleges Against Cancer and Director of Student Activities Lisa Ramsey, did gain the support of the administration. Kelly and Mullner were then well underway with bringing Relay to campus.
According to Kelly and Mullner, a lot of the credit for the planning and execution of Relay goes to their leadership team, consisting of 19 students and one faculty member.  Mullner is especially proud because, of the entire group, only two had participated in other Relays.
After endless meetings, phone calls and planning, Mullner and Kelly are relieved and definitely pleased with the result. “I don’t think we ever expected to get the money we raised,” Mullner said. “We didn’t expect to get the response we got.”
“One of our biggest accomplishments was that we were able to bring the community together for something that was so closely related to the mission of our University.” Kelly is equally pleased with the Relay and has big goals for the future, hoping for the event to be institutionalized at JCU.  “The best thing I heard about Relay was from Dr. Peck from the graduate school who heard from several high up administrators that this is the greatest thing they’ve seen at John Carroll.”
For Mullner, it was the little things that touched his heart the most, like the reactions from survivors and those who had lost a loved one. “These moments are why I do it.”