Mark Edward Kelly is the son of Richard and Patricia (née McAvoy) Kelly, two retired police officers. Kelly is of Irish descent. He was born on February 21, 1964, in Orange, New Jersey, and raised in West Orange, New Jersey. Kelly graduated from Mountain High School in 1982. He received a bachelor of science degree in marine engineering and nautical science from the United States Merchant Marine Academy, graduating with highest honors in 1986. In 1994, he received a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the U. S. Naval Postgraduate School.