In Memory of Dr. W. Wilbert Welch, Christian leader, statesman, and author
Cornerstone University Announces Loss of Fifth President and Chancellor, Dr. Welch
With deep sadness, Cornerstone University announces the death of its fifth president and chancellor, Dr. W. Wilbert Welch, 97, on the morning of July 16, 2015.
Dr. Welch led the university from 148 enrolled students meeting in a church basement on Wealthy Street in 1959 to 130 acres in a strategic area of Grand Rapids on East Beltline Avenue five years later. He grew the small Bible Institute into an accredited Christian liberal arts college that now educates close to 3,000 in its undergraduate program, two seminaries, online classes and adult learning program.
The beloved former president served at the helm of the university until 1983 and later as interim president in 1991 until Dr. Rex Rogers was hired.
In 2006, Dr. and Mrs. Welch were honored with the naming of the centrally located campus clock tower.
He continued to be a presence on campus, stopping to pray for faculty and staff members in their offices, attending chapel and eating in the dining commons on a regular basis until 2012.
Born in 1918 in Greenville, Mich., Dr. Welch received his bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from Bob Jones University where he sat under the leadership of Dr. Bob Jones. He served multiple congregations in Georgia and Michigan before accepting the presidency of Cornerstone University.
"His leadership through the years has been outstanding,” said Dr. Joe Stowell, current president of Cornerstone University. “We wouldn’t be here today without his great work.”
Dr. Welch was married to his wife, Meryl, for 71 years before she passed away last year.
Please join the broader Cornerstone University community in remembering and celebrating the life and work of Dr. Welch at a memorial service on August 31 at 10 a.m. in Christ Chapel on the campus of Cornerstone University.