California State University, Fresno President John D. Welty’s dedication to economic development in the region was awarded the Institutional Leadership Award by the International Economic Development Council at the council’s annual conference in Charlotte, N.C.
“The Institutional Leadership Award recognizes a leader of a community institution (university, community college, hospital, local foundation or other community institution) who has made significant contributions to the community in support of economic development through their leadership, financial support, local investments, hiring, training or related activities,” said Dennis Coleman, the council chair.
“Dr. Welty – much to the benefit of the community he serves – is the very embodiment of just such a person.”
In a ceremony Sept. 19, Coleman said Welty has mobilized the community to institute positive change that has had a profound impact on the quality of life of Central California, a region undergoing dynamic changes in population, culture and economics.
In an effort to encourage students to become invested in the surrounding community, Welty introduced service learning into the curriculum and expanded community service opportunities. In each of the last two years, Fresno State students, faculty and staff have volunteered more than 1 million hours of service in the community, with an estimated economic impact of $28 million.
Coleman said Welty has worked to position the university as a resource for the surrounding area, citing as examples:
- Establishing the Office of Community and Economic Development, which manages the Regional Jobs Initiative and the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley.
- Serving on the executive board of the Fresno Business Council, which has created more than 1,000 jobs since 2003 and established the Central Valley Business Incubator.
- Establishing the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 2003 with a gift from Dr. William Lyles and the Lyles Family Foundation. The center has inspired students, faculty, alumni and community leaders to act on business ideas that build a prosperous future for the region. The center also is a bridge between the campus and community, linking resources of both to achieve success in the marketplace.
The International Economic Development Council is the premier membership organization dedicated to helping economic development professionals create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities and improve the quality of life in their regions. Serving more than 4,500 members, IEDC represents the largest network of economic development professionals in the world. IEDC provides a diverse range of services, including conferences, certification, professional development, publications, research, advisory services and legislative tracking.
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Photo caption: President Welty, center, with Dennis G. Coleman, president and CEO of the St. Louis County Economic Council, and Dyan Brasington, vice-president for Economic and Community Outreach, Towson University.