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 Marks Highest Fall Enrollment in 34 Years

For the Fall 2018 semester, Welch College enrolled the highest number of students in 34 years, according to Provost Matthew McAffee. Total enrollment statistics indicate 404 students from 22 states and five foreign countries.

“I am delighted to see this impressive increase in our enrollment numbers,” McAffee said. “We pray the Lord will continue His transformative work in the lives of these students He has entrusted to our care.”

“Particularly exciting is the increase in new students this year, both freshmen and transfer students,” McAffee said. This fall 93 new students enrolled in on-campus programs at Welch, a 21% increase from last year’s new freshman and transfer enrollment of 77. A total of 116 new students joined the student body for the new school year, including graduate, online, and adult studies enrollments. 1984 was the last year fall enrollment was higher, with a headcount of 417.

At press time the college reported 200 dormitory students, 53 commuter students, 27 graduate students, 18 Enriched Adult Studies students, 38 Online/Lifetime Learning students, and 68 dual enrollment students. The fall’s full-time equivalency (FTE) is 300 students, the highest in 12 years.

President Matt Pinson said, “We’re thankful to God for this blessing of another increase in dormitory and FTE enrollment. This is the most dorm students we’ve had in many years, and we’re grateful to the Lord for His providential blessing. In a time when most college and university dorm enrollment is flat or declining, it’s wonderful to see ours going up.”

President Pinson continued, “I commend Daniel Wester, Debbie Mouser, and the entire enrollment team for their diligent work in bringing in this excellent class of new students, our largest incoming class since 2006.”

To contact Welch College for more information, email recruit@welch.edu or visit the college’s website at www.welch.edu.

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.

Bracey Named as Welch College Cross Country Coach

For Immediate Release

February 18, 2017

NASHVILLE, TN—Welch College has named Matthew Steven Bracey as cross country coach at Welch College, according to Athletic Director Gary Turner. “Welch has taken a big step toward building a strong cross country program with the hire of Matthew Bracey as its new cross country coach,” Turner said. “An avid runner himself, Bracey has a real heart for running and is excited about the prospect of building a really strong, vibrant program. He looks forward to working and running with students, as well as building personalized training programs for them.”

Bracey has run numerous marathons, including, most recently, the Mercedes-Benz Marathon and the Walt Disney World Marathon. He has also run several smaller races, winning his age category in a recent 5k.

“I’m honored to serve in this capacity as the coach for Welch’s cross country team,” Bracey remarked. “The opportunity to combine two things that I love—Welch and its students on the one hand, and running on the other—is an awesome blessing. I look forward to building a great cross country program and team. And I’m especially excited about working even more with students.”

Bracey, a 2008 graduate of Welch College, received an M.T.S. from Beeson Divinity School and a J.D. from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. He began working for Welch in 2013, where he serves as Associate Vice Provost and teaches law, theology, and history. He has also co-edited and contributed to two books and written a number of scholarly and popular articles.

“I believe Coach Bracey will take our cross country program to a whole new level,” said Turner. “With his love of Welch College and his passion for running, I think we’ll see the program flourish. If you’re interested in cross country, or know someone who is, contact Coach Bracey at mbracey@welch.edu.”