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Faculty

April 28, 2022

Betty Welch ’48, a pioneer of Graceland women’s collegiate athletics, passed away on November 23, 2021.

After graduating from Graceland in 1948, Welch received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Kansas and her Master of Science in physical education from the University of Colorado. When she returned to Graceland as a faculty member, she was the only woman in the athletic department that taught physical education in 1959. As Welch began her career, she saw the opportunity to grow the women’s athletic program. She started to achieve her goals within the program without any budget and devoting her personal time outside of the classroom to take the small groups of women to compete in events.

Because of her passion for women’s athletics, Welch worked hard with the women’s basketball, volleyball, track, field hockey, tennis, and softball teams and helped them achieve varsity status at Graceland. Welch was a trailblazer who often acknowledged the struggle she faced in getting women’s athletics developed sometimes required her to often do things without permission.

Welch paved the path of greatness for women’s athletics at Graceland. She was the first woman to chair the Division of Health, Education, and Physical Education at Graceland, she coached women’s field hockey for all 16 years that it was a sport at Graceland and was the first woman to be inducted into the Yellowjacket Athletic Hall of Fame.

Graceland is grateful to the contributions Betty Welch made to advance women’s athletics at the University.

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