On Thursday, the Western Piedmont Community College board of trustees named Joel D. Welch, the seventh president of the college. Welch will succeed Michael S. Helmick, who announced he would retire June 30, after a 10-year career with the college.
Welch has extensive community college experience having spent the past 21 years in roles at Greenville Technical College and most recently at Forsyth Technical Community College.
Welch has served as an instructor and department chair in hazardous-materials technology, dean for engineering technology, associate vice president for administration, dean for business and technology, vice president for instructional services, vice president for transformative learning, and provost.
“I am excited and deeply honored to have the opportunity to serve as the next president of Western Piedmont Community College,” Welch said. “WPCC is an exemplary institution recognized for its commitment to student success and support for economic development. I am grateful to the board of trustees and the faculty and staff for the trust that they have placed in me to lead WPCC into the future.”
Welch grew up in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina and received his Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina; Master of Engineering in civil engineering from the University of South Carolina; and a Doctor of Philosophy in educational leadership from Clemson University.
Welch was selected by the WPCC board of trustees to lead the college after a nationwide search that attracted a strong and diverse pool of 79 applicants. The Association of Community College Trustees assisted WPCC with the search and selection process.
“Welch’s previous experience aligns with the goals of the board to continue collaborative efforts with regional educational and workforce partners initiated by President Helmick” said Scott Mulwee, WPCC board of trustees chair and co-chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “His broad community college experience and dedication to student success position him well to further the mission of Western Piedmont Community College to provide accessible, high-quality education that improves lives and promotes growth in our community.”
“I look forward to building upon the great work that has already been accomplished and working with the faculty, staff and the community to cultivate a shared vision that supports student success, economic development and economic mobility,” Welch said. “Together we are going to accomplish great things at our college and in our community.”
Welch will begin full-time July 1. At that time, the college will host community forums to introduce him to the community.