West Virginia Executive Summer 2014 - Page 67

By Jennifer Jett Man Around Campus Dr. Ed Welch, the pres- ident of University of Charleston (UC), is many things to many people. To faculty and staff at UC, he is the energy and vision that keeps the university moving forward. To students, he is a friend who joins them in the cafeteria for lunch to catch up on campus life. Former Mountain State University students see him as part of the solution to addressing a dark and uncertain time in their higher education experience, and to West Virginia, he is one of the longest-tenured college presidents in the state’s higher education history. If you ask Welch what he’s about, though, the humble Maryland native will likely tell you he only wants to leave UC’s student body, Charleston’s community and higher education better than it was when he arrived in 1989. Welch is a well-loved resident of the Charleston area. He has received many accolades for his service to higher education and his community. He is a recipient of the YMCA’s Spirit of the Valley award, which recognizes individuals for their exemplary community service, and he was the first recipient of the Charles L. Foreman Award for Innovation in Private Higher Education by the Foundation for Independent Higher Education. He is so well loved by his community, in fact, that he also has a towboat named after him, which can be seen making its way along the Kanawha River from time to time. For the summer’s education issue, West Virginia Executive met up with the man who led UC from the poor financial position that had the school on the verge of closing to last year’s expansion into Beckley and Martinsburg locations and online education offerings. With a lengthy resumé as a former White House employee, an ordained minister, a college professor, provost and president, Welch’s life experience, along with his passion for helping others, has made him a leader that both the UC family and the Charleston community look to for guidance in building a better tomorrow. An Interview with Dr. Ed Welch www.wvexecutive.com summer 2014 67