Fresno State presented outgoing President John D. Welty with a painted portrait at the Campus Community Farewell Reception Wednesday in the Henry Madden Library. The portrait will hang in the library alongside paintings of the university’s past presidents.
Welty thanked the faculty and staff in attendance for their hard work to advance the university.
“I am forever grateful for the great work they’ve done, and they are, as so many of you are, responsible for the great progress that has been made at the university,” Welty said to the faculty and staff in attendance. “This is a day that you should all feel very, very proud.”
Welty then turned his attention to artist Joel Beery, who Welty said is a great example of the quality of Fresno State alums. Beery, a Fresno State graphic designer, was commissioned to paint the traditional presidential portrait. Beery used photos as reference to create the painting of Welty standing in front of the Madden Library, and said creating the art was a five- to six-week process.
Welty is the longest serving president in the 102-year history of Fresno State, with a tenure that began in August 1991. Under Welty’s leadership, Fresno State enhanced its academic programs and constructed $425 million in new facilities. Enrollment at the university has grown from 19,800 to more than 22,000 students and today offers 61 undergraduate degrees, 45 master degree programs and three doctoral degrees.
Welty’s retirement is effective July 31. Newly appointed President-designate Dr. Joseph I. Castro begins his term at Fresno State on Aug. 1. Castro currently serves as vice chancellor for student academic affairs at the University of California, San Francisco. As a Hanford High School graduate, Castro becomes the first Central Valley native to serve as Fresno State president. Like Welty, Castro is the first member of his family to attend college.
“You are very, very fortunate because President Castro is going to join our university community. He’s going to make a huge difference,” Welty said to the university employees. “He will join on August 1 ready to go, and he’s already tired me out, so if you thought things were going to slow down — they’re not. He’s very enthusiastic about joining this university community.”
Throughout his tenure, Welty championed the role of higher education as a catalyst for educational and economic growth. The establishment of the Welty Center for Educational Policy and Leadership will sustain that vision.