Winfred Bruce Welch


Honorary Degree (1982)
Doctor of Laws
Location: Indianapolis
Presenter: John William Ryan


Dr. W. Bruce Welch, distinguished psychologist, educator, and administrator, paid his alma mater the highest form of tribute. In the 30 years since he received his own advanced degrees at Indiana University, he inspired many young people with outstanding ability to attend Indiana University to pursue graduate degrees. The academic records and careers of those students are a testimony to the ability he had to perceive the potential of his students and to advise and influence them to excel.

Dr. Welch was professor of psychology at Virginia Union University, where he served as head of the Department of Psychology and Director of the School of Education and Psychology and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He was also a psychologist in private practice.

Bruce Welch was born June 25, 1918 in Atlanta, Georgia, and he received his A.B. degree from Livingstone College in 1939. He earned the M.S. and Ed.D. degrees from Indiana University in 1945 and 1952 respectively.

He began his career as an educator in a one-teacher elementary school in rural Washington County, Georgia. He taught in numerous institutions of higher education, including Albany State College, Albany, Georgia; Jackson State College, Jackson, Mississippi; Virginia State College, Petersburg, Virginia; The Fort Valley State College, Fort Valley, Georgia; and Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia.

Dr. Welch's distinguished career as an educator and a psychologist was marked by a commitment to the disadvantaged. He served as chief of the Counseling Bureau of Indian Affairs for the Department of the Interior and as a specialist with the U.S. Office of Education working with the disadvantaged and handicapped. He also helped prepare Peace Corps candidates for work in Nigeria. In 1965 he was named director of Human Development for the Richmond Public Schools, where he headed a new anti-poverty program to improve the education of impoverished children.

As a licensed psychologist, Dr. Welch established Psychological and Learning Consultants in 1975. It is a non-profit organization, which provides psychological and educational clinical assistance to children and adults with learning and adjustment problems.

In his career as an educator, Dr. Welch had the distinction of having served as a teacher and administrator at the elementary, secondary, and university levels. He also served as a U.S. education specialist in Iran, where he advised the Ministry of Iranian Education on teacher training programs and supervised the establishment of two demonstration schools.

Dr. Welch was graduate professor of education and psychology at the University of Cincinnati from 1969-1975. In 1974 he took a sabbatical leave to develop and implement an undergraduate program in psychology at Virginia Union University in cooperation with the Department of Psychology at the University of Cincinnati. At the time Dr. Welch received the honorary degree from IU (1982), there were approximately 90 students majoring in psychology at Virginia Union University, and the program remains strong today.

Dr. Welch was a diplomate in School Psychology of the American Board of Professional Psychologists. His other honors included receiving the Rosenwald Foundation Scholarship and selection as a General Education Board Fellow.

His sense of civic commitment was evident. He was a past president of the Virginia Pastoral Care Board and has been a member of the Richmond Urban League Board, the Educational Therapy Center Board, and the Richmond Area Mental Health Board.

Dr. Welch was married to the former Rispah L. Jones, who received both the master's and doctoral degrees from Indiana University. She was professor of education and director of development centers for Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Dr. Welch passed away on February 6, 2007.