Last year, in pre-pandemic times, the Welsh family sat down together at a special dean’s luncheon for legacy families at the UConn School of Law.
“Being there together helped us think about how important the law school was to all of us,” said Walter C. Welsh ’72 JD, who was the first in his family to go to law school.
After all, seven family members had gone to the law school and launched successful careers in widely divergent fields of law.
Soon after the luncheon, family members got together and decided to express their appreciation. They gave a joint gift that would pay for installing state-of-the-art technology in two new classrooms in the Thomas J. Meskill Law Library.
The generous donation allowed the school to equip the classrooms with interactive touch screens, videoconferencing equipment, cameras that track the speaker, and other equipment to greatly improve distance learning and small group collaborations.
“The state-of-the-art technology included in the newly designed classrooms will allow for more seamless, collaborative, and interactive learning between students, faculty, and guest lecturers,” School of Law Dean Eboni Nelson said. “We are incredibly thankful for the Welsh family’s generous gift that has allowed us to enhance the educational experience for faculty and students, particularly those engaged in distance education.”
Walter, who has built a career in tax and insurance law, has been an adjunct professor at the law school for many years. More recently, he has taught in the Master’s in Insurance Law program, which relies on the existing classrooms in the school that provide for distance-learning students. With new classrooms and new technology, the law school will be able to provide a greater number of students with an improved in-class experience and an almost “in classroom” experience for distance learners.
The Welsh family understands that public universities like UConn increasingly rely on donations from alumni as state funding continues to dwindle. Currently, the state funding now covers only 25.7 percent of UConn’s budget. The rest comes from tuition and fees, room and board, research grants, and donations.
“Even though it’s a public institution, the school needs help from alumni in the same way that a private institution does,” Walter said.
The UConn School of Law is an important part of the Welsh family, one of UConn’s biggest legacy families. Walter’s two brothers, Charles “Chuck” R. Welsh ’88 JD and James “Jim” P. Welsh ’84 JD, attended, as did Jim’s daughter, Katherine Laliberte, who attended for two years, then graduated from a law school in Canada.
In addition, Walter’s sons, Kevin W. Welsh ’05 JD and Walter B. Welsh ’06 JD, are proud graduates, as is the younger Walter’s wife, Aidan R. Welsh ’06 JD.
If that weren’t enough, Walter Sr.’s wife, Elizabeth W. Welsh ’70, and his brother Chuck’s wife, Cynthia Gregory-Welsh ’95, were UConn undergraduates. That’s a total of nine huskies!
While they have pursued a variety of law careers, they all feel grateful for the strong foundation the law school gave them.
“The law school did so much for us,” Walter said. “Being able to give a little back gives us a good feeling.”