Section Image: Kelly Trager on the Tauber Terrace

Neeley Fellows Program Welcomes New Academic Director, Professor Kelly Trager

Kelly Trager, an assistant professor of professional practice in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Department, will helm the ambitious honors program as the new academic director.

June 25, 2024

By TCU Neeley School of Business

When classes resume this fall, students in the Neeley Fellows program will welcome a familiar faculty member to the program’s helm. Kelly Trager expands her involvement Neeley Fellows as a classroom professor to become the program’s new Academic Director. 

Trager, an assistant professor of professional practice in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Department, joined Neeley in 2021 and looks forward to extending her connection to students in the Neeley Fellows program.

“My TCU experience is completely tied to the Fellows in some way. The cohort that just graduated was my first cohort when I started at TCU,” said Trager. “I’m most excited about seeing our graduates grow and evolve in their careers and their lives and continuing to bring in new cohorts to see what they do at each step; the growth they experience, the struggles, the challenge, and also the good news and celebrations.”

Kelly Trager interacting with a student in a classroom

The Neeley Fellows program is a top-tier honors program in TCU’s Neeley School of Business with more than 450 alumni since the program launched in 2009. The Neeley Fellows is a rigorous, three-year program that graduated its 16th class in May. Students in the cohort program are stretched beyond their already competitive coursework to gain a deeper understanding of the world beyond the classroom.

In addition to Trager’s extensive legal and entrepreneurial experience, she has prior academic experience at institutions such as Pratt Institute, College of Charleston, and Southern Methodist University. She has a BA from Boston University and earned her JD from Brooklyn Law School. Since joining Neeley, Trager is an engaged community member who, among other activities, serves on the Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission for the City of Fort Worth.

Trager will be working with Neeley Fellows Program Director Meg Lehman, who has credited faculty and alumni support for the longevity of the program and sustained success.

Previous Neeley Fellows academic directors have included Professor Bill Moncrief, a recent retiree and long-time faculty member who was involved in the Neeley Fellows at the start. Professor Stephen Lusch served as the program’s academic director last year.

Kelly Trager teaching

“I am inheriting a program that is in really fantastic shape,” Trager said. “Part of my role is to make sure I keep moving this program forward in terms of visibility and networking. I take this role very seriously, and I understand the importance of careful stewardship,” Trager said, especially when it impacts students.

Trager’s experience with Neeley Fellows already extends beyond the classroom. Last year, she served as a faculty sponsor for the Neeley Fellows’ trip to Austin, also allowing her to build more connections with Neeley Fellows alumni who completed the program before she started at TCU.

“Not only are the Fellows highly motivated, but they all share the ability to understand growth and change and adapt to that,” Trager said. “These students really look out for each other. They are their biggest cheerleaders and can be their biggest critics in the best possible way.”

Photo: Kelly Trager

Kelly Trager

Assistant Professor of Professional Practice
Neeley Fellows Academic Director
Entrepreneurship and Innovation Department

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