Susan Welker ‘02 Inspires On An International Scale
When international students think of Wittenberg, Susan Welker’s name quickly comes to mind. Since 2003, Welker has worked diligently to share the Wittenberg story with the world, first in her role as the Freeman Project administrator and then as the assistant director of admission/coordinator for international recruitment.
Her efforts increased international application numbers by 39 percent and brought in the largest degree-seeking international class in five years. During her tenure, she also administered a $2 million operational budget, executed six campus-wide East Asian programs, coordinated, led and translated for a group of 10 Springfield teachers on a two-week tour of Japan, and advised East Asian faculty on how best to remain competitive in the recruitment market.
Behind her accomplishments, however, Welker also did something else that students will remember long after they leave Wittenberg’s hallowed halls. Welker made a point of personally knowing each and every student with whom she crossed paths, so much so that current students and young alumni consider her passion for Wittenberg to be inspiring. Whether it be lending a helpful hand to an international student far from home or listening about his or her first year on
campus during lunch, Welker knew each student’s name and made each one feel a part of something special at her alma mater.
That commitment to students and her work along with her passion for Wittenberg recently made her the top choice for the university’s G.O.L.D. Young Alumni Award. Given to those who have shared their time and talent with the university, the award was presented to Welker during Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 10-12, 2008, by her father, Robert Welker, Wittenberg professor of education.
“Wittenberg has literally given me life,” said Welker, who recently moved to Montana with her husband, Brad Benne, and their son. “With a parent who started teaching here when I was in the third grade, and inlaws who met here, graduated and then came back to make Wittenberg their life’s work, Wittenberg is literally in my blood. I could not be more passionate about the people who make Wittenberg come alive and the transformation they created in my own life.”