Athletic Complex to be Built and Named After President Welch


As the institution prepares for a presidential transition, the University of Charleston’s (UC’s) Board of Trustees approved an $8 million comprehensive campaign to fund two major initiatives. The campaign’s focus is to build a new athletic complex to be shared by four of UC’s Division II teams and to fund the second phase of the University’s innovation programming, designed to expand innovation concepts and activities into the Charleston community.  

The new athletic complex will be named the Welch Athletic Complex to honor the achievements and legacy of President Edwin H. Welch during his 29 years here.  He will retire in June.

The Welch Athletic Complex, a $4 million project, will enlarge and renovate the current baseball field, known as Triana Field.  The complex will be home field for UC’s baseball, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse teams.  The state of the art complex will include artificial turf, concessions, bleachers, locker rooms and scoreboard.  In two stadium areas, the new facilities will provide competition and practice fields for the 170 athletes from these four sports.  Currently the field is only used for baseball. The City of Charleston has approved the closing of 19th Street providing additional space for the project.  As in the past, the fields will be available for community access when not being used by UC teams.

The second focus of the campaign is to expand the UC’s innovation programming to involve community partnerships with businesses, nonprofits, government and individuals.  The original vision for the Russell and Martha Wehrle Innovation Center was to create a strong campus base for innovation and then to extend that into Charleston and the greater Kanawha region.  After its inaugural year, the UC base of innovation is strong and secure on campus, and Innovation is being embedded throughout the UC curriculum.  Faculty, students and staff are embracing the concepts, participating in competitions, developing business plans, and applying design thinking concepts within all of UC’s programs.

The Welch Challenge Campaign chair is Bernard E. Layne III of Mani, Ellis & Layne, PLLC.

“Dr. Ed Welch is a true visionary in the field of higher education,” said Layne. “His innovative approach to education and athletic competition has changed the complexion and perception of the University of Charleston during his 29-year tenure. This campaign will move his original master plan and innovation programming vision forward and will serve as a capstone to his remarkably brilliant career at our University. “

In his 28 years at the University of Charleston, Dr. Welch has led many campaigns to develop the university and its programs.  In 1994, he secured what was at the time, the largest gift in UC history, leading to the construction of the Clay Tower Building.  More recently, Dr. Welch oversaw the design and completion of the $20.5 million Wehrle Innovation Project on campus. He announced his retirement earlier this year, effective June 2018. 

There will be a community celebration and fundraising dinner on June 15 to honor both Dr. Ed and Dr. Janet Welch for their accomplishments at the University and in the community.

Welch Athletic Complex Rendering

University of Charleston Overview

The University of Charleston (UC), is a small private university with a national reputation for outcomes-based, experience-focused education. Since its establishment in 1888 as Barboursville Seminary, the University has grown to its current size of over 2,400 students with more than 35 majors and 11 minors that span the health sciences, business, and the arts and sciences. These academic programs range from associate degrees through doctoral studies and range from being taught in-seat in Charleston and Beckley to being taught online-only to students across the nation. The curriculum has a real-world focus and is centered on the mission “to educate each student for a life of productive work, enlightened living, and community involvement.” UC continues to be recognized by both the U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review as a notable regional university in the south. U.S News & World Report also named UC as one of the best colleges for veterans, and the University continues to be named to the “Military Friendly Schools” list as chosen by Victory Media.

Innovation as a brand:  In 2017, the Russell and Martha Wehrle Innovation Center opened with a world-class innovation hub and a state of the art athletic arena.  With one year of programming, innovation is being embedded across the entire University curriculum and in all programs.  More than 100 students participated in the spring I3 and Innovation Showcase.   In October 2017, 128 business plans were submitted in the State Collegiate Business Plan Competition, and 21 teams have advanced to the semi-finals.

For more information contact Deborah Morris, Vice President of Advancement, at, 304-357-4849 or Dave Traube, Director of Communications, at, 304-352-0014.