A legacy of faith-based leadership.

The Cornerstone University community remembers and celebrates Dr. Walter Wilbert Welch's leadership and impactful life, noting his legacy of faithfulness as a disciple of Christ. Join with us in recalling his numerous contributions to the vision for our institution.

In honor of his outstanding contributions to the university, the Administration Building was named the W. Wilbert Welch Administration Building. In addition, Cornerstone University's 75th anniversary celebration was dedicated to him.

Memorial Service

A memorial service for Dr. W. Wilbert Welch was held on Monday, August 31, 2015, in Cornerstone University's Christ Chapel.

Legacy Reflection

A reflection on the legacy of Dr. W. Wilbert Welch from Dr. Joe Stowell:

"Dr. Welch has left an indelible legacy in the contribution that he has made to the success we are enjoying today. He had the vision to relocate us to the expansive, highly visible and easily accessible campus that we now enjoy, he gave persevering leadership to our community through challenging times of change during his twenty five years of active service to the university, expanded the facilities and was an untiring champion of strong academics and the spiritual development of our students. But his greatest legacy is stamped in the lives of our students who were deeply influenced by his steady, magnetic character and his love for Christ.

In the words of one of our faculty, 'Dr. Welch was a carpe diem servant leader, not a hearer only but a doer of the Word whose desire was to serve the Lord as his ultimate life goal.'" 

Biographical Timeline

  • 1918 | Born on February 7 to Arthur and Ada Welch
  • 1933 | Received Christ and experienced conversion to faith in June
  • 1935 | Formative books included Ironside's Holiness: The False and the True and Pettingill's Bible Questions Answered
  • 1936 | Worked in Detroit for Packard Motor Company to save money for further education
  • 1937 | Embarked on first out-of-state trip to Bob Jones College of Cleveland, Tennessee
  • 1938 | Became the pastor of Ooltewah Baptist Church

"The only sacrifice I made was the occasional missing of my Sunday noon meal at the college when hitchhiking was a little slow."
—Dr. W. Wilbert Welch

  • 1939 | Conducted first church revival meeting in Stryker, Ohio
  • 1939 | Arranged house revival meetings with Willian Stevens, a missionary, in eastern Kentucky
  • 1940 | Spoke for Rev. Clyde Wood at Alpine Baptist Church and met Meryl Ball, a guest musician with a Ladies Trio
  • 1942 | Ordained to the ministry on June 15 and married Meryl Ball on the following Saturday
  • 1943 | Became the temporary pastor of Evanston Avenue Bible Church in February
  • 1943 | Received graduate study training from Dr. Charles Brokenshire, Dr. Alfred Cierpke, and Dr. John Herrman
  • 1944 | Accepted a call to serve the 48 attendees of Calvary Baptist Church of Rome, Georgia

"Not one person sat on the left side of the church for one whole year, even though we were enjoying church growth."
—Dr. W. Wilbert Welch

  • 1948 | Received a leave of absence to complete a doctoral dissertation
  • 1950 | Accepted a call to serve Calvary Baptist Church in Muskegon and remained with the congregation for 10 years
  • 1959 | Installed as the president of Cornerstone University on November 1
  • 1962 | Held a Faith Ground Breaking ceremony with 1,000 individuals on May 2

"I told the people very frankly that this was a tremendous step of faith . . . we had neither an approved blueprint, a contractor, nor a bid."
—Dr. W. Wilbert Welch

  • 1962 | Served alongside missionaries for six weeks in Liberia and Ghana
  • 1964 | Provided leadership for members of the institution during a move to the new campus location

"By the fall of 1967, our enrollment figure went over the 500 mark for the first time—growth of 340% in eight years."
—Dr. W. Wilbert Welch

  • 1983 | Concluded term as president of Cornerstone University and assumed the position of Chancellor
  • 1991 | Served as interim president of Cornerstone University

"Apart from the home and church there is no agent which more quickly shapes the future of the constituency than the school."
—Dr. W. Wilbert Welch

The Welch Collection

The Cornerstone University Archives of Miller Library oversees the Welch Collection, maintaining record of publications, timelines, photographs, letters, articles, and related documents. For additional information, please contact Miller Library at 616.222.1458.

Preview the Collection

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