Leo Welch has been honored by the Illinois Community College Faculty Association by having one of the organization’s awards named after the O’Fallon resident.
“As president of the ICCFA, I have been pushing the idea of naming our awards as a way to honor our leaders and distinguish each of the awards,” said David J. Seiler, a history instructor at Lake Land College in Mattoon. “I proposed the idea of naming our Faculty of the Year Award after Leo earlier this fall.”
The measure passed the executive board with a unanimous vote and, later, was passed by a voice vote by the Delegate Assembly of the ICCFA.
The Leo Welch Faculty of the Year Award will be presented to faculty members who best represent the values and attributes displayed by Welch throughout his long and distinguished career in higher education.
“I feel very honored,” Welch said.
Welch, who began his teaching career in ROVA High School in Oneida in 1962, served as a professor of biology at Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville, from 1970 to 2002. He has filled the role of adjunct professor of biology at McKendree University since 2003.
Additionally, he has been a leader in higher education governance by serving on the Eastern Illinois University Board of Trustees, as a co-founder of the Illinois Higher Education Legislative Coalition, and as president of the State University Annuitants Association.
Welch has also committed his efforts to serving his academic discipline as a member of the External Advisory Committee to the Museum of Paleontology for Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Berkeley, as well as the Advisory Committee to the Hofstra University Marine Laboratory in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica.
Further, he has been a “model of curiosity and inquiry to his colleagues as evidenced by his travel to many different countries,” the ICCFA proclamation read.
Welch has been an active member of the ICCFA, having served as president, legislative officer and liaison to both the Illinois Community College Board and the State University Retirement System.
"Leo has been an active member of the ICCFA for decades, and is an integral part of our group,” Seiler said. “He serves as a sort of liaison to the SURS advisory board and he is key in keeping us up to date with his knowledge and understanding of pending/potential legislation.”
The ICCFA is a statewide organization that represents the common interests of all faculty in Illinois’ public community colleges, promotes teaching and learning excellence and professional development, provides a faculty presence on the Illinois Community College Board, and informs faculty of issues which affect the 48 public community colleges in Illinois.
All faculty members at Illinois community colleges are members of the ICCFA.