Dr. John D. Welty, president emeritus of California State University, Fresno whose 22-year presidential tenure (1991-2013) is the longest in the University’s 111-year history, founded the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium in 1999 along with the late UC Merced Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey and area community college officials.
CVHEC, which was formally incorporated Nov. 25, 2002, is delighted that President Welty has agreed to return for our Higher Education Policy and Legislative Summit May 5-6, 2022, when he will participate on a panel providing a historical perspective for CVHEC’s 20th anniversary Friday, May 6.
After retiring from the Fresno State presidency in 2013, Dr. Welty served as trustee professor of the California State University for two years. He established a legacy of promoting diversity, innovation, service, enterprise and community engagement as foundations for the university’s future.
Dr. Welty currently serves as senior associate at AASCU Consulting Services working with universities in developing strategic plans, serving as a mentor for university presidents and other senior leaders and conducting presidential reviews. He is past chair of the California Health Sciences University Board of Trustees and continues to serve on the CHSU board. He is also a professor in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development.
Dr. Welty is recognized as a leader in the 23-campus CSU and an authority in national higher education issues who has testified before Congress. The California State University Board of Trustees renamed the Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute at Fresno State the John D. Welty Center for Educational Policy and Leadership (housed in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development).
He chaired and served on multiple national boards including as commissioner of the Accrediting Commission for Schools/Western Association of Schools and Colleges
in 2000 and a three-year term as the WASC Commission chair. He also is past chair of the board of directors for American Humanics, Inc. Board, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Board and the Western Athletic Conference. He was appointed to the Urban Serving Universities (USU) Board in 2012. He served on the National Collegiate Athletic Association Board Executive Committee and the special NCAA Task Force on the Future of Intercollegiate Athletics and as the Mountain West representative to the Bowl Conference Series.
The president emeritus has been honored with numerous awards and distinctions by local, state and national organizations such as the Chief Executive Leadership Award by the Council for Advancement and Support for Education. He was recognized by the John Templeton Foundation for his leadership in Student Character Development in Schools and Colleges. The California State Student Association twice recognized him as President of the Year. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by his alma mater Western Illinois University in 2010.
During his two-plus decades at the helm of Fresno State, Dr. Welty also was a leader in establishing several University partnerships and initiatives such as the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, obtaining a one-year $110,000 grant from The James Irvine Foundation in 2002 to support the consortium and its members’ efforts to boost the college-going rate in the San Joaquin Valley.
He called it “a seamless higher education system” for students in the region that would be vital to the valley’s future – a system that flourishes 20-plus years later and will be celebrated at the 2022 summit.
For the summit panel “Celebrating 20 years of CVHEC in the Valley”, Dr. Welty will be joined by several co-founders: Dr. Frank Gornick, chancellor-emeritus for West Hills Community College District; Sandra V. Serrano, chancellor-emeritus of Kern Community College District; and Dr. Benjamin Duran, president-emeritus of Merced College and current CVHEC executive director who will moderate the panel.
Before Fresno State, Dr. Welty, a native of Amboy, Illinois, was president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and vice president for Student and University Affairs. He received his bachelor’s degree in Social Science from Western Illinois University, Macomb in 1965; his master’s in College Student Personnel Services from Michigan State University in 1967; and his doctorate in Administration of Higher Education from Indiana University, Bloomington, in 1974.
Dr. Welty and his wife, Dr. Sharon Brown-Welty, have five children and six grandchildren.
Fresno State retirement announcement (Aug. 17, 2012).