Letter from President Pinson Regarding Commencement

Dear Members of the Welch Community,

These have been challenging times for all of us as we have coped with a global pandemic that had farther-reaching consequences than I ever imagined it would have. Our community has been resilient, however, and has navigated these troubled waters with prudence and with grace.

I was so saddened to have to announce to the Class of 2020 last year that we would have to cancel their normal 2020 Commencement activities. After meeting with the executive council of the Senior Class, we decided that the best way forward was to have Commencement exercises for the Class of 2020 at the same time as that of the Class of 2021.

While there are still many details to be finalized, and while anything could change given the current unpredictable situation with COVID-19, I wanted to announce the date of the Commencement exercises for both the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 so that students and their guests could mark it on their calendars and make travel plans.

All Commencement activities for both classes will take place on Friday, May 7th. The times, locations, and details of the gatherings will be forthcoming. Guest seating will be limited owing to COVID-19 and the need for physically distanced seating. Thus a limited number of free tickets will be provided to each graduate for his or her family and friends.

Neither the graduate breakfast nor a Baccalaureate service will be held. An awards ceremony for the Class of 2021 will be held virtually, similar to what we held last year for the Class of 2020. Also forthcoming will be details regarding hooding for master’s degree recipients.

More details will follow as we finalize them. Thank you for your patience as we work through what will be a very different celebration in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. And continue to pray for us here at Welch as we continue to make key decisions and fulfill our mission in these difficult times.

The Lord bless you and keep you.


Matt Pinson

Welch College Choir Tour “One of the Best in Years”

The forty-member Welch College Choir, under the direction of Dr. James Stevens, completed a three-state tour during spring break covering 1700 miles and ministering in ten locations over seven days, according to according to Todd Parrish, Director of Church Relations.

“Church members in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia worshiped joyfully as the choir sang through the O Praise the Name program,” Parrish said. “The choir did a variety of music, which included anthems, hymn arrangements, spirituals, and contemporary worship songs. Alumni and former choir members stated that this was one of the best Welch choirs in years.”

Choir members spent time with residents at the Governor’s Bend Assisted Living Center in Erwin, TN, as well as with students at Gateway Christian Academy (VA) and Bethel Christian Academy (NC). “One teacher expressed how grateful she was that the college students went out of their way to make her fifth graders feel important,” Parrish said. Over 300 academy students signed up to receive more information about Welch College. From these student information cards, Andrea Sosa (VA) was selected to win a free Apple watch.

Welch College Announces Grand Opening of Student Activities Center

The Grand Opening of the Welch College Student Activities Center is scheduled for Friday, November 10, according to President Matt Pinson.

Friends and members of the Welch College community are invited to celebrate with an evening of festivities. A brief grand opening ceremony will begin at 4:00 p.m. followed by a tailgate party and cookout at 5:00. The Flames basketball team will then play the first game in the brand new gymnasium as they face St. Louis Christian at 7:00.

The Student Activities Center houses the gymnasium, coffee shop, student recreation area, and fitness center. A tour will be given following the 4:00 ceremony.

“We invite all our friends to come celebrate this wonderful occasion of the completion of the Student Activities Center, which also marks the conclusion of phase one of the construction of the new Welch campus,” President Pinson said. “The students have been eagerly anticipating the opening of this new facility that will be at the center of student life. It’s going to be great to have our first Flames basketball game in the new facilities in conjunction with Welcome Days.”

To see photographs of the new campus and get information about giving toward the funding of this effort, visit Buildingonthelegacy.com.

Welch College Celebrates 75 Years with New Campus Dedication

GALLATIN, TN— Over 900 people gathered at Welch College recently to dedicate its new campus and celebrate 75 years of service to Christ’s kingdom, according to Welch President Matt Pinson. Guests at the September 29 celebration included alumni, donors, denominational leaders, local and state political figures, Free Will Baptist supporters, local community leaders, and academic representatives from various institutions of higher education.

“Our people were there to celebrate three quarters of a century of God’s goodness and faithfulness,” President Pinson said. “They came to celebrate the culmination of a vision for campus relocation that spread over two presidential administrations at Welch. And they came to celebrate a future that is exciting and promising.”

The celebration began with an academic convocation, which was immediately followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Leaders from the Free Will Baptist denomination, community and governmental leaders, and higher education representatives expressed words of gratitude and commendation, and hymns and songs resonated from the audience, college choir, and alumni choir.

Following a barbeque luncheon under a tent on the quadrangle, guests enjoyed campus tours, a musical concert, children’s activities, and alumni reunions. The day ended with an encore presentation of The Slipper and the Rose performed by the Welch College Drama Department and Choral Union.

The public phase of the Building on the Legacy campaign was formally announced at the celebration, with the unveiling of the Pave the Way brick campaign. The campaign provides the opportunity for bricks to be purchased and installed at a future time on the Gallatin campus. Bricks are $250 and can be purchased in memory of, in honor of, or in the donor’s name. More information can be found at buildingonthelegacy.com.

To see videos of the dedication ceremony and events, please visit welch.edu/dedication.

Gallatin, Welch College Home, Voted “Nicest Place in America 2017”

GALLATIN, TN— On October 10, Reader’s Digest named Gallatin, Tennessee, “Nicest Place in America 2017,” according to President Matt Pinson.

Reader’s Digest launched the “Nicest Place in America” contest in April 2017 in partnership with the private social network, Nextdoor. Hundreds of communities were nominated, with only ten locations chosen for voting. These ten cities received almost 80,000 votes, with more than 30,000 cast for Gallatin.

Reader’s Digest cites Gallatin’s faith communities and racial unity as the main reasons for Gallatin’s “Nicest Place” title. This was specifically showcased in the city’s reaction to a tragic police shooting, when nearly 100 community members gathered for a prayer vigil.

Founded in 1802, Gallatin has been transformed from a farm community to a booming suburban city. Despite its fast growth, Gallatin continues to maintain the traditional hospitality of a southern town. “Gallatin’s southern charm is one of its remarkable traits,” Pinson said. “Its commitment to the well-being of its citizens, its friendliness to the Christian community, and its support of nonprofit charity and service work make it a great fit for Welch College.”

“There’s no doubt that the Welch campus community both contributes to and benefits from Gallatin’s positive reputation. With over 10,000 hours of annual community service, local church involvement, and student job placement, Welch College will continue to serve Christ, His Church, and His world in Gallatin.”

To read more about the “Nicest Place in America,” pick up the November issue of Reader’s Digest or visit www.rd.com/nicest.

Welch President Announces Academic Leadership Changes

At its last meeting, the Welch College Board of Trustees unanimously approved significant changes in the president’s leadership team, according to President Matt Pinson. “We’ve made some important changes to facilitate strategic growth for the college in its new Sumner County environment,” Pinson said. “These changes also posture the college for growth well into the future, as they involve gifted younger members of the faculty.” The transition will occur on June 1, the beginning of the 2017-18 fiscal year.

“There’s a pressing need to free up more of Dr. Greg Ketteman’s time to work on strategic growth initiatives now that we’re in our new environment as the only four-year residential college in Sumner County,” Pinson said. New initiatives planned on the new campus include the relaunching of an (evening) adult studies program; addition of more online degrees; initiation of master’s degrees in Christian leadership, teaching, and educational administration; and articulation of agreements with area colleges and universities creating new ways to earn baccalaureate degrees in nursing, ease of transfer to Welch, and outreach to Christian high schools and the homeschool community.

“With his outstanding leadership skills, the respect he has gained in the academic community, and his ability just to get things done, Dr. Greg Ketteman is uniquely qualified to lead the kind of strategic growth initiatives we need in our new setting here in Sumner County,” Pinson explained. “Making these changes will free up his time to work on such initiatives for the future growth of the college and enable a number of younger leaders to exercise their gifts at the college.”

These changes involve the following personnel:

Dr. P. Greg Ketteman will transition to the role of Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, Dean of Graduate and Adult Studies, and Distinguished Professor of Education. Ketteman, who was born in South Carolina and reared in Nashville, Tennessee, has served as Provost at Welch College for the past eleven years. Before that he served on the Welch Board of Trustees for four years. Known widely in Free Will Baptist circles as an active lay church leader and music minister, Ketteman graduated from Welch in 1977 with a B.S. in Teacher Education. He went on to earn M.Ed. and Ed.D. degrees in educational leadership from Middle Tennessee State University and Tennessee State University, respectively, and also underwent significant graduate studies in the field of public administration. Before coming to Welch, he enjoyed a distinguished three-decade career in Metro Nashville Public Schools, the first half of that time as a teacher and the second half as a principal. Ketteman and his wife of 40 years, Jill, who has served at Welch since 1998 and currently works in the Financial Aid Office, have two grown children, Jack and Emilee, and five grandchildren.

Dr. Matthew J. McAffee will become Welch’s Provost. A native of New Brunswick, Canada, McAffee was originally ordained in the Atlantic Canada Free Will Baptist Association. He served as a part-time faculty member from 2003-2006 and pastored Lewisburg Free Will Baptist Church, before going back to graduate school. He returned to Welch in 2010 to teach biblical studies and biblical languages and also served as campus pastor and program coordinator for Theological Studies. A graduate of Welch College (B.A.), Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and the University of Chicago (M.A., Ph.D.), McAffee has written a number of scholarly and popular articles in journals such as the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, and the Journal of the American Oriental Society. He recently co-authored Sexuality, Gender, and the Church(Welch College Press) and is author of Life and Mortality in Ugaritic: A Lexical and Literary Study(Eisenbrauns, forthcoming) and co-author of Going Deeper with Old Testament Hebrew: An Intermediate Study of the Grammar and Syntax of the Old Testament (B&H Academic, forthcoming). He will continue to teach Bible and biblical language courses while fulfilling his new administrative duties. McAffee lives on campus with his wife Anna, who serves as women’s resident director at Welch, and their four children, Abigail, Lydia, Samuel, and Marianne.

Dr. Kevin L. Hester has been named Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and will maintain his role as Dean of the School of Theology. A graduate of Welch, Dr. Hester holds an M.Div. from Covenant Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Saint Louis University and has written a number of books and articles, including, Eschatology and Pain in the Theology of Gregory the Great. Dr. Hester has a strong reputation in the Christian higher education accreditation community, having served on numerous accreditation teams for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE). He serves as a commissioner on the ABHE Commission on Accreditation and also serves on the editorial board of the ABHE Journal. In his new role he will teach, oversee both undergraduate and graduate divisions of the School of Theology, and serve as the planning and accreditation liaison for the college. He and his wife Leslie have four sons, Spencer, Seth, Justin, and Jackson. His oldest son Spencer is a student at Welch.

Matthew Steven Bracey will transition to the role of Vice Provost for Academic Administration. Bracey has served four years as Registrar at Welch. Originally from Ashland City, Tennessee, he graduated from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University (Juris Doctor) and also holds a B.A. in history from Welch and a master’s degree in theology from Beeson Divinity School at Samford. A Ph.D. student in Ethics and Public Policy at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he has written widely, serving as co-author and editor of Sexuality, Gender, and the Church (Welch College Press) and co-editor of The Promise of Arminian Theology (Randall House Academic). He is also a managing editor at the Helwys Society Forum (TheHSF.com). Bracey will continue teaching courses in law, history, and theology and serving as managing editor of Welch College Press. His wife Sarah, a licensed professional counselor, is currently completing her doctorate in counselor education and supervision and serves as adult studies liaison, staff counselor, and adjunct instructor in psychology at Welch.

“These are exciting times of transition for Welch College,” Pinson remarked. “These changes will make strategic growth possible but will also facilitate preparation of current faculty for future leadership at Welch. I ask our college family to join me in prayer for these leaders and for this process.”

Speakers Announced for First Commencement Exercises on New Welch College Campus

GALLATIN, TN—Two Welch College alumni will challenge 2017 graduates at the first Commencement event on the new Gallatin campus, according to President Matt Pinson.

Clint Morgan, Free Will Baptist International Missions director, will address graduates during 10:00 a.m. Commencement exercises Friday, May 19. Reverend Todd Parrish, pastor of First Free Will Baptist Church in Washington, North Carolina, will present the Baccalaureate sermon Thursday evening, May 18 at 7:00.

A 1972 Welch graduate, Morgan completed a master’s degree in Intercultural Studies at Columbia International University and a degree in French from the University of Nante, France. He and his wife Lynette served as missionaries in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa, for twenty-nine years and in France for four years. Morgan has been the general director of Free Will Baptist International Missions since 2011. He and his wife have four adult children and eight grandchildren.

A 1989 graduate of Welch and current student in Welch’s M.A. program in theology and ministry, Parrish has ministered in Free Will Baptist churches for more than twenty years. A trained counselor with a master’s degree in the field, he is former director of the Free Will Baptist Home for Children in Turbeville, SC. He currently serves as Assistant Moderator of the North Carolina Association of Free Will Baptists. He and his wife Merinda have two daughters, Emily and Ellen, the latter of which is a member of the Welch Class of 2017.

“The most uplifting time of year at Welch College is Commencement, as students receive their degrees and launch out into the future,” said President Pinson. “What a privilege to watch these young leaders go out to change the world. While some move on from here to pursue graduate degrees or professional training, most find places of service and begin making a difference in local churches, schools, and the marketplace. We encourage friends and family members to join us as we celebrate the 2017 graduates.”

City of Gallatin Welcomes Welch College 

NASHVILLE, TN—The City of Gallatin and Mayor Paige Brown hosted a “Welcome to Gallatin” reception for Welch College February 10 at Gallatin City Hall.

“From the very beginning, when the announcement was made that Welch College was coming to Sumner County and to Gallatin, there was a lot of excitement,” said Tennessee State Senator Ferrell Haile. “As the buildings have gone up, the excitement has certainly gone up also.”

Welch President Matt Pinson stated, “We saw Gallatin, not only as a warm and welcoming community, but also as a community on the move. Gallatin is one of the fastest growing areas in Tennessee, and we believe it is going to be great to partner with the city to move forward with the mission of our college.”
“Only 5% of Tennessee cities have a residential college,” said Mayor Paige Brown. “Welch College brings to our community, not only a four-year residential college, but also a student base which gives over 10,000 hours of community service each year.”

To view a video published by the Gallatin City Communications Office, click here. To read the newspaper article in The Tennessean, click here.

For more information about Welch or to apply, call 615.844.5000 or go online to welch.edu.

TENNESSEAN: Welch College ‘a monumental addition’

By: Josh Cross (Tennessean)

As Welch College prepares to begin holding classes at its new campus in Gallatin next month, plans to increase the school’s educational opportunities for high school students and adults are already underway.

During a welcome reception held Friday at Gallatin City Hall, school officials announced plans to offer dual-enrollment courses for Station Camp High School students in addition to relaunching an adult studies program for working adults who never completed their degree.

Welch also plans to partner with Volunteer State Community College and has been in discussions with Union University and Sumner Regional Medical Center regarding the development of a program aimed at increasing the number of nurses in the community.

“We are an institution that intends to be a part of this community and to affect this community in profound ways,” Welch President Matt Pinson said Friday. “Over these next few weeks we intend to open the new campus and begin to express to this community what we’ve been doing in Nashville for the last 75 years – a mission… not only of academic excellence but of spiritual commitment and of traditional moral values.”

Students began taking online classes earlier this month until the college’s new campus, located just north of Station Camp High School between Bison Trail and the Stone Creek subdivision, is complete.

The first phase of the new campus will include an administration building, separate male and female dormitories as well as a cafeteria/multipurpose building. A gymnasium/student activities center is expected to be completed this summer.

“What Welch College is bringing to our city is much, much more than buildings and a business,” Mayor Paige Brown told those in attendance Friday. “This school is going to enhance our culture, our vibrancy and our character, which makes this great institution one of the most exciting additions that Gallatin has ever realized. Our small city will not only have a wonderful comprehensive community college but also a four-year residential college.”

Established in 1942, the regionally and nationally accredited four-year Christian school offers 40 majors with its top programs including theological studies, pre-med/nursing, business, teacher education and music. Welch has approximately 400 students enrolled annually who take part in 10,000 total hours of community service work each year.

In September, Welch and three other Free Will Baptist ministries purchased an additional 64 acres adjacent to the college’s new campus in Gallatin. The deal came one year after Mike Ford Custom Builders purchased 7.14 acres of Welch’s 7.6-acre West End Avenue property in Nashville for $11.25 million.

The school and associated Free Will Baptist groups now own all of the property along the northern stretch of Bison Trail between Lower Station Camp Creek Road and Big Station Camp Boulevard across from the Station Camp schools complex.

“I consider this a monumental addition to our county,” Sumner County Executive Anthony Holt said. “We actively pursue new (higher education) opportunities for our citizens. That’s what it’s all about.”

View the original article here.

Welch College Adult Degree Program in Gallatin Tennessee

Welch College Expands Enriched Adult Studies Program to Gallatin and Hendersonville

NASHVILLE, TN—With the opening of its new campus in Gallatin this spring, Welch College will launch its new Enriched Adult Studies Program, according to Dr. Charles Lea, special assistant to the president for adult education. “Beginning in April, Welch will start offering classes leading to associate’s and bachelor’s degrees tailored for adults who want to go back and complete their degree,” Lea said. Plans call for the offering of degrees in Biology, Business, Christian Ministry, Teacher Education and Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure.

Lea said, “For those interested in learning more about the Enriched Adult Studies Program, Discover Welch sessions are scheduled for January 26 from 5:00-6:30 p.m. at the Hendersonville Chamber of Commerce (100 Country Club Drive #104, Hendersonville, TN 37075) and February 28 at the Welch College campus off of Bison Trail, Gallatin.”

Classes will meet one night per week and will have both flexible on-campus and online components. The program features value-priced tuition for working adults with full federal financial aid, and credit for life experience is available. Each student in the program will receive a specific and individualized degree pathway, and internship options and placement assistance will be offered. Applications are now being accepted at welch.edu/EnrichedAdultStudies.

Welch College is both regionally and nationally accredited and ranked one of the South’s best colleges by U.S. News and World Report. The college is slated to relocate to its new campus on Bison Trail in February. Welch has been part of Middle Tennessee’s educational community since 1942, where around 400 students from 23 states and three other countries study in a Christian community of faith and learning.

For more information or to apply: Call 615.844.5000 or go online to welch.edu/EnrichedAdultStudies.

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For the latest information about coronavirus, visit welch.edu/coronavirus