SRPH Dr. Donnelly remembered for his generosity, scientific and intellectual contributions

July 2, 2009

K.C. Donnelly, Ph.D.

K.C. Donnelly, Ph.D.

(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — K.C. Donnelly, Ph.D., professor and head of environmental and occupational health at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health since 1999, passed away July 1, 2009, from complications related to cancer.

“The School of Rural Public Health and the Texas A&M Health Science Center have been blessed by his contributions to our fabric,” said Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., president of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and vice chancellor for health affairs for The Texas A&M University System, and Roderick E. McCallum, Ph.D., interim dean of the HSC-School of Rural Public Health and vice president for academic affairs.

“The coming days and weeks will be difficult, but we are all blessed to have known him. We will miss him dearly. He was truly a remarkable colleague and friend.”

Born Aug. 27, 1951, Dr. Donnelly received a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology in 1974 and a Ph.D. in Toxicology in 1988 from Texas A&M University. He directed undergraduate and graduate studies and worked to improve the public health work force by implementing continuing education workshops in environmental health for public health professionals.

With more than 30 years of experience in basic and applied research, Dr. Donnelly was the associate director for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences-funded Superfund Basic Research Program at Texas A&M. His research included environmental exposure studies in Azerbaijan; the Czech Republic; Shanxi, China; and numerous U.S. locations, along with animal and human population studies on population exposures and the genotoxicity of complex chemical mixtures.

Additional research efforts by Dr. Donnelly included a collaborative study with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a study on pesticide exposure in children residing in four rural communities and studies on the use of health education as an intervention to reduce childhood exposure to pesticides in Texas colonias (rural, unincorporated border communities).

“His imprint will remain with us and those who follow in our footsteps for decades to come,” said Drs. Dickey and McCallum. “His students are among the most devoted anywhere. They, too, will undoubtedly carry his work with them as they undertake their professional careers.”

Dr. Donnelly is survived by his wife, Robin; son and daughter-in-law, Nathan and Danielle Donnelly; son, Noah Donnelly; brother, Ted; and sister, Patsy.

Services are pending with Callaway-Jones Funeral Home in Bryan (

— Rae Lynn Mitchell