College mourns passing of alumna, former staff member Libby Welsh

Jan. 21, 2010
Contact: Karen B. Eldridge, Director of Communications

Elizabeth S. “Libby” Welsh '59, who was instrumental in establishing and building Maryville College’s admissions and development programs during her 47 years of employment, passed away Jan. 20 at Blount Memorial Hospital.

She was 73.

A native of Louisville, Ky., and graduate of Fern Creek High School, Welsh enrolled at Maryville College in 1955, following in the footsteps of her parents, grandparents and several aunts and uncles. An English major, she graduated in 1959 and went to work as assistant in the newly established alumni office, helping then-Director of Development Brick Brahams.

She traveled to high schools in the region, recruiting new students. She kept alumni records; helped produce and distribute alumni mailings; and helped plan Alumni Days, reunions and alumni trips abroad.

In an interview given around the time of her retirement in 2006, Welsh said that in joining the staff in 1959, she thought she would spend a few years at the College and eventually leave to enroll in graduate school. However, the aspirations of the College quickly became her own.

“ … so I stayed. And stayed. And stayed,” she said during the interview. “I suppose, unlike students today who have goals, I didn't really have a plan. I grew into my job, and ultimately, my goal was to help the College be successful because I believed so strongly in the College and what it was doing.”

Until her retirement, Libby worked continuously in the Advancement Division of the College. She held the titles of Office Manager, Alumni Director, Director of Campus Events, Administrative Assistant to the Vice President and Director of Donor Records and Research. From 2006 until her death, she was a regular volunteer in the Advancement Division.

A faithful and generous alumna, Welsh supported various initiatives of her alma mater. She was a member of the President’s Circle, the Isaac Anderson Society, the Calvin Duncan Society and the Society of 1819.

At a retirement luncheon held four years ago, then-MC President Dr. Gerald W. Gibson presented her with a framed key to the College and announced that a student award had been established in her name.

She was recognized with the Alumni Association’s Alumni Citation in 2009 for her many contributions to the growth of the College in size, quality, reputation and visibility.

“It is a sad day for the College’s Advancement Division and a sad day for the entire Maryville College family,” said Holly Jackson-Sullivan, vice president for advancement and community relations. “I can honestly say that I have never known a more devoted MC graduate or employee. She was an inspiration to all of us who knew her.

“We will miss Libby’s sense of humor, her outstanding service to this institution and her vast knowledge of the College and its constituents,” she added.

Welsh is preceded in death by parents Robert Welsh and Mildred Renegar Welsh.

Survivors include sister and brother-in-law, Margaret “Peggy” and Donald Curlovic of Sumter, S.C.; nephew David Curlovic of Cary, N.C.; niece Susan Curlovic Werner of Tampa, Fla., and husband Joe Werner; beloved great-nephew Jack Werner and beloved great-niece Kate Werner, both of Tampa, Fla.; uncle D. Edward Renegar of Patrick Springs, Va., and wife Helen; and many cousins.

Services are planned for 10 a.m., Monday, Jan. 24, in the Alumni Gymnasium on the Maryville College campus with the Rev. Anne D. McKee officiating. A receiving of friends will be held following the memorial service.

McCammon-Ammons-Click Funeral Home in Maryville is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial gifts be made to Maryville College, Office of Advancement, 502 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Maryville, TN 37804.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,198.