In Memoriam: Susan Welch, 1943-2022

Susan Welch, the longtime political science faculty member at Pennsylvania State Univerity, died on March 28. She was 78 years old.

A native of Galesburg, Illinois, she enrolled at the University of Illinois with the intention of studying mathematics in 1961. But she switched her major at the beginning of her senior year and went on to earn a Ph.D. in political science at the university in 1970.

Dr. Welch began her 50-year academic career as an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska. She remained on the faculty there for 21 years before coming to Pennsylvania State University in 1991 as dean of the College of Liberal Arts. She served in that role until 2019, the longest-serving dean in the history of the university.

Dr. Welch wrote more than 170 peer-reviewed articles and authored or co-authored eight books — including her renowned Understanding American Government, a three-time winner of the American Government Textbook Award from the Women’s Caucus for Political Science and currently in its 14th edition. Her published works have been cited more than 11,000 times.

“Susan was a role model, pioneer, visionary, and incredible leader who helped make Penn State into the world-class university it is today,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “Her legacy is felt in countless ways — through outstanding academic programs, a robust research operation, a dramatic increase in student scholarships, investments in new centers and institutes, and an all-encompassing commitment to the importance of a liberal arts education. We are fortunate Susan devoted her time and talents to Penn State for so long, and she will be greatly missed.”

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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