Dr. Joe Welch — Lamar State College Orange’s 1st president — remembered after his passing

Published 3:24 pm Wednesday, September 13, 2023

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Lamar State College Orange President Tom Johnson shared the following message with the Gators campus and larger community following the passing of Dr. Joe Welch.

Welch was the first president of LSCO.

President Johnson:

“Today, we are saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Joe Ben Welch. The history of Lamar State College Orange is forever tied to Dr. Welch. As our founding leader, he guided the college through its first 20 years and said it best, “the very creation of this institution is a direct consequence of this community’s efforts.”

Without the overwhelming support of the community, the school would not exist today.

The college began in the former Tilley Elementary School in the fall of 1969 under Dr. Welch’s direction with 345 students. After Tilley Elementary burned down in 1971, Dr. Welch was instrumental in leading the community to raise $250,000 to rebuild the campus.

As the college continued to grow, LSCO received monetary, land and building donations from the State of Texas, the U.S. Navy and local companies to build a stable and enduring campus for the community.

As president, he laid the foundation for this wonderful college we enjoy today.

Dr. Welch was universally loved and had overwhelming support from the Orange community during his long tenure.

His memory will live on with each student who attends our beautiful college on the Sabine. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Dr. Welch.”