Penn State Intercom......August 29, 2002

Mayor is Renaissance Man

Bill Welch, mayor of State College, will be honored as the Renaissance Man of the Year at the 26th annual Renaissance Scholarship Fund dinner, according to John M. Infield, president of the Renaissance Fund board of directors. The event will be held Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on the University Park campus. A reception begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

The dinner raises funds for Renaissance Scholarships, which are awarded to academically talented Penn State students who have great financial need. Each dinner honors a community leader, and contributions are used to endow scholarships in the honoree's name.

Since the Renaissance Fund's inception in 1969, more than $4.5 million in scholarships has been awarded to more than 2,210 students. During the 2001-02 academic year, nearly $500,000 in scholarships was awarded to 513 Renaissance Scholars.

"We are very pleased to be honoring Bill Welch this year," said Infield, senior vice president of PNC Bank and a 1973 Penn State alumnus. "His tireless efforts on behalf of the State College community, sense of humor, and sharp mind are only a few of his many exemplary qualities."

Welch was born in Philadelphia and moved to State College with his family at the age of two. His parents were involved in many local programs and projects, and were role models for him in the importance of public service. He graduated from State College High School in 1959, and when it came time to apply to college, Penn State was his obvious choice. He had been provisionally accepted by Harvard University and was tempted to attend, but "I never gave any serious thought to leaving State College," said Welch.

He earned his bachelor's degree in arts and letters from Penn State in 1964. That same year, he became a reporter at the Centre Daily Times, despite never having taken a journalism class. Welch quickly learned the newspaper trade from his fellow reporters and editors, and soon was promoted to news editor, then managing editor, then editor. In 1980, he was named executive editor, a post he held until he resigned in 1985 "to take the only other job in the world that I really wanted."

As a child, Welch had spent much of his free time browsing in the Pattee Library stacks, where he found the book Zoology on Postage Stamps and began a lifelong passion-philately. Combining his love of writing and stamp collecting, he left the Centre Daily Times to become editor of both The American Philatelist, a monthly magazine published by the State College-based American Philatelic Society (APS), and Philatelic Literature Review, the American Philatelic Research Librarys quarterly journal. Under his editorial supervision, the APS publications were honored with several international awards. In August 2002, he received the Luff Award, the most prestigious honor bestowed by the APS. His many philatelic ventures include encouraging Penn State to offer philatelic education via a stamp collecting correspondence course-the most popular correspondence course ever offered by the University.

Welch was a member of the State College borough council for four years before being elected mayor in 1994. He won his third consecutive term as mayor last November.

He has served in many leadership roles in community and government groups, including president of the College Heights Neighborhood Association, treasurer and vice president of the Mount Nittany Conservancy, and president of the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors Association. He is an advocate for diversity in the community, and serves as an ex-officio member of the President's Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity at Penn State. He has also been involved with WPSX-TV, Penn State's public broadcasting station, narrating documentaries and hosting "Pennsylvania Chronicle," a weekly statewide variety program.

Welch is married to Nadine Kofman, a freelance writer and editor, and has three daughters: Jennifer, Jessica, and Justine.

For Renaissance Dinner reservations, or to make a contribution to the Renaissance Fund, contact Kathy Kurtz in the office of annual giving at (814) 863-2052.