Fresno State President Welty announces retirement

Fresno State President John Welty will retire in the summer of 2013 from the position that he has held for more than 20 years.Fresno State President John Welty will retire in the summer of 2013 from the position that he has held for more than 20 years.Fresno State President John D. Welty announced today that he would retire in the summer of 2013 from the position that he has held for more than 20 years.

Welty took over the position in August 1991, making him the longest-serving president in the 102-year history of Fresno State. During that time, the school has significantly improved its academic programs and overseen the construction of $425 million in new facilities, while the school’s enrollment has grown from approximately 19,800 students to its current number of over 22,000.

Welty, who turns 68 next week, made the announcement during his annual Fall Assembly address to faculty and staff in the Satellite Student Union.

“It has been a great honor and privilege to serve this university and region,” Welty said in a release. “I shall forever be grateful to our faculty, staff and administrators for their sacrifice, dedication and commitment to serving the students of Fresno State.”

Welty said he intends to continue to serve the California State University system as a trustee professor at a CSU campus.

CSU Chancellor Charles Reed said that Welty “is recognized and respected as an exceptional leader both by his colleagues across California, as well as at the national level. During John’s tenure, he has transformed Fresno State into a premier university that contributes to the economic and educational vitality of the Central Valley and beyond.”

Since his tenure began, Welty has championed the university’s link with the Central California region to address local issues. He was a leader in establishing the Fresno Business Council, the Central Valley Business Incubator, the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, the Collaborative Regional Initiative, the Regional Jobs Initiative, the Kenneth L. Maddy Institute and several other partnerships.

He led the effort to build the Save Mart Center and dramatically increased private fund raising and grant and contract funding.

Throughout 21 years of commencement ceremonies, Welty has shaken the hands of thousands of graduates and signed diplomas for nearly 83,000 degree-earners.

During Welty’s time at Fresno State, the school’s athletic teams achieved great success, including two national championships: The 1998 NCAA Women’s College World Series, Fresno State’s first NCAA National Championship, followed by the “Wonderdogs” NCAA College World Series Championship in 2008.

The school also faced a number of lawsuits during Welty’s time in office. In December 2007, a jury awarded former women's basketball coach Stacy Johnson-Klein nearly $19.1 million for gender discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation, the largest amount in history for any kind of discrimination against any kind of institution. The award was later reduced to $6.6 million, plus $2.5 million in legal fees.

Earlier in 2007, former women's volleyball coach Lindy Vivas was awarded $5.85 million for gender discrimination; it was later reduced to $4.52 million plus $660,000 in legal fees. Former associate athletic director Diane Milutinovich sued the university for gender discrimination, settling out of court for $3.5 million.

Welty 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.

Welty and his wife, Dr. Sharon Brown-Welty, have five children and three grandchildren.