John S.W. Kellett '47 Award

John S.W. Kellett '47 Award

The John S. W. Kellett ’47 Award recognizes any MIT individual or group for an exceptional and/or sustained commitment to creating a more welcoming environment at MIT, including but not limited to, improving the experience of lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender (LBGT), and questioning individuals. The award honors Mr. Kellett, whose spirited support has enabled significant improvements in the lives of members of MIT’s LBGT community.

If you have any questions about the John S.W. Kellett '47 Award please contact us via email.

John S.W. Kellett
John S.W. Kellett was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1927 and earned both an S.B. in chemical engineering (1947) and an S.M. in chemical engineering practice (1948) at MIT. He spent most of his career with Exxon focusing on refinery planning and project management. While he knew he was gay, he was closeted for most of his life. In 1972, when Exxon transferred him to Houston from overseas (the Stonewall Riots occurred during his absence and without his knowledge), he was determined to integrate the various aspects of his life and, later, to become an advocate for improving the experience of lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgendered (LBGT) individuals. As his 50th reunion approached, he challenged MIT to examine its support of its LBGT community, resulting in the creation of the LBGT Issues Group, BGALA, and a broad spectrum of services. He continues to be a tireless advocate for these issues and an ongoing inspiration.

Past Award Recipients


  • Laurel Kinman G
  • Gerardo Perez Goncalves G


  • Libby Hsu, D-Lab


  • Miranda Dawson G


  • Sam Turton G


  • Professor Sasha Costanza-Chock, CMS/Writing


  • Kenny Chen G


  • Queer West


  • Graduate Queer Women Group
    • Rebecca Heywood
    • Audra Amasino
    • Lakshmi Kannan


  • Margaret Lattanzi-Silveus ‘16


  • Lincoln Laboratory Out Professional Employee Network (OPEN)


  • Idan A. Blank G


  • Cory Hernandez '14