Nancy Welch Award

UB Professor Claude Welch established the Nancy Welch Award to honor his late wife Nancy.

The Nancy Welch Award, given annually in honor of the former residential coordinator of Rachel Carson College, is presented to residential students who have made significant contributions to the university community during the current academic year.

Save The Date

This year's Nancy Welch Award Banquet date and time will be announced in the Spring of 2018.

Who Was Nancy Welch?

Nancy Welch, a former member of the UB community, worked hard to bring a sense of citizenship to this campus. During her short time at UB, she accomplished a great deal and had a lasting impression on those who knew her.

Read Nancy’s Full Bio

Nancy Welch January 31, 1941 – May 9, 1979

Nancy “had a searing mind, a warm heart, an endearing demeanor, and a genuine belief in the work that was being undertaken and accomplished at Rachel Carson College.” – Carole Smith Petro

“Nancy was an effective leader. She was always able to read the personalities and emotions of those around her.” – Irving Spitzberg

Nancy Welch, a former member of the UB community, worked hard to bring a sense of citizenship to this campus. During her short time at UB, she accomplished a great deal and had a lasting impression on those who knew her.

Before making Buffalo her home, Welch spent a significant amount of time overseas with her husband, Claude Welch. They met at Harvard College and married at the end of her junior year; shortly after, the newlyweds spent time in Oxford, England and then in Ghana and the Gambia. During her stay overseas, Welch sustained her love of learning and upon her return to the United States; she completed her bachelor’s degree in less than two years.

In 1973 at the age of 32, Welch was diagnosed with breast cancer. Following her diagnosis, she spent a great deal of time volunteering; she supported the PTA and the League of Women Voters. In 1975, in an effort to deal with her diagnosis, she took a part time job at UB as the Residential Coordinator at Rachel Carson College, located in the Joseph P. Ellicott Complex. The Ellicott Complex had recently opened a year earlier on UB’s North Campus, which was still under construction and very much isolated. Welch’s job as Residential Coordinator was to develop interdisciplinary programs that would alleviate some of the isolation felt by students. One of her popular programs was Sunday Night Suppers. Welch would bring all four of her children—Elisabeth, Sarah, Martha, and Christopher—to these suppers and they would all interact with the students. Sunday Night Suppers gave the students residing in Ellicott a taste of home. During this difficult period in her life, Welch’s contact with UB students rejuvenated her.

Early in 1978 Welch, along with her husband and children went on an extended vacation to Oxford, England. Later that year, in August, shortly after Welch returned to Buffalo, she found out her cancer had recurred. During her final months, she formulated the criteria for the Nancy Welch Award.

After six long years battling breast cancer, Nancy Welch died on May 9, 1979. Decades later, Welch’s values continue to live on through the Nancy Welch Award.

Criteria

The following award selection criteria will be used:

  • The quality of the program or project developed, implemented or supported by the nominee
  • The quality of the nominee's contribution to the program or project
  • The degree and quality of participation by others in the program and project initiated or supported by the nominee
  • The quality of the learning experience enjoyed by the nominee in the course of the development, implementation or support of the program or project

Awards

First, second and third place winners will receive a cash award and a plaque noting substantial contributions to the university.

Make a Nomination

Any member of the university community can make a nomination. A complete application must be submitted for each nominee. Nominees must be undergraduate students currently living in the residence halls on the North or South Campus or in North Campus apartment complexes. Please note that positive outcomes from nominee volunteerism and creativity will carry more weight in the selection process than positive outcomes from paid job experiences.

The 2017 Nancy Welch Award nomination process is now closed. 

Past Winners