Terry Welch, assistant to the chancellor at Western Carolina University, is recipient of one of the university’s highest honors.
Welch, who is retiring later this summer after serving in WCU’s Office of the Chancellor for 20 years, is only the 13th person in university history selected to receive the Trustees’ Award. The Board of Trustees bestowed the honor upon her after the board’s quarterly meeting Friday, June 3.
The Trustees’ Award is presented only on rare occasions in recognition of exemplary service to the university, Ed Broadwell, board chair, said in announcing the honor.
“Terry Welch has been a very special person to the Board of Trustees for decades. Yes, she looks young but she has served this board for decades, and she has been serving the university for even longer than that,” Broadwell said.
“Terry has trained all of us. She certainly has trained me,” he said. “She brings to this position the excitement and exuberance of a young intern, and she also shares with all of us who have served on this board her expertise and her wise counsel. Her sage advice has meant a lot to the members of the Board of Trustees over the years.”
In her role as assistant to the chancellor, Welch has served as primary support for Chancellor David O. Belcher since his arrival in 2011 and, prior to that, for John Bardo. In addition, she has served as assistant secretary to the WCU Board of Trustees, which has included the care and organization of 66 trustees over the years, Belcher said.
“Simply put, I could not do my job without her. Her competence, poise, patience and sense of humor are without parallel. I am so grateful for her service to me over the last five years and for her unwavering support of and dedication to Western Carolina University. She is, indeed, a Western institution,” he said. “It goes without saying that hers will be big shoes to fill.”
In her role, Welch manages the daily calendar of activities for the chancellor, a task that has inspired Belcher to give her the nickname “the Schedulator.” She prepares agendas and materials for meetings of the Board of Trustees, taking official minutes and ensuring that the public gets proper notice of meetings.
Welch also manages three employees of the Office of the Chancellor, serves as the office’s accountable officer and organizes meetings of the chancellor’s Executive Council.
Trustees recognized Welch with a light-hearted “coronation ceremony” at the June 3 board meeting, presenting her with a purple pillow, sash, tiara and scepter. Board member Kenny Messer also presented Welch with a mantel clock in recognition of her reputation for keeping the trustees meetings running on time.
Prior to joining the Office of the Chancellor, Welch was ticket and house manager for the Liston B. Ramsey Regional Activity Center from 1985 until 1996, serving as acting director of the 8,216-seat multipurpose arena from May 1992 until September 1992. She also worked in WCU’s Office of Business Affairs from 1982 until 1985, and as medical records coordinator at Piedmont Area Mental Health in Albemarle from 1978 until 1981.
Active in community theater in Jackson County and in stage productions at WCU, Welch earned her bachelor’s degree in English and theater from Pfeiffer College.
Past recipients of the Trustees’ Award are Wallace Hyde, E.J. Whitmire, Barbara B. Coulter, Ruth C. Shuler, Burton B. Fox, Judy H. Dowell, Rich Kucharski, George “Chuck” Wooten, Clifton B. Metcalf, Dianne C. Lynch, Tom Apodaca and Mary Ann Lochner.
By Bill Studenc