AMHERST, Mass. – Jack Welch, the former two-decade chairman of General Electric Co., and his wife, Suzy have added $1 million to the scholarship fund he established for graduating seniors of Salem High School to attend the University of Massachusetts.
Welch, a graduate of both Salem High and UMass Amherst, established the John and Grace Welch Endowed Scholarship Fund in 2001. The fund honors the memory of his parents, and in particular serves as a tribute to his mother, Grace Andrews Welch, and to the values, ideals and work ethic instilled during Jack Welch’s formative years in Salem. The current $1 million addition brings the cumulative donation for these annual scholarships to $4.5 million.
With this latest gift, the fund will support up to eight students with an annual award of $20,000 each, an increase from $15,000. The two students chosen each year must demonstrate a dedication to learning and a willingness to be leaders in their endeavors. Preference is given for UMass students attending the Amherst campus, and the award is renewable for four years.
UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy, said, “For decades Jack Welch has been an inspiration to anyone who strives for excellence and for all who believe in the power of public higher education. Once again, Jack and Suzy’s generosity exemplifies our faith that investing in UMass Amherst will benefit everyone in the Commonwealth and beyond. We are most grateful for their continuing support.”
Jack Welch said, “Good managers and good educators know that our best work is in allowing others to grow. These scholarships are meant to choose good people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings. There is no surer way to success. Suzy and I are proud to support their growth through UMass Amherst.”
Michael A. Leto, UMass Amherst vice chancellor for development and alumni relations, said, “Jack’s parents had a dream for him to get a college education and put that education to work. We know the results. Now, because of Jack and Suzy, other deserving students will have that dream within reach.”
Students currently receiving John and Grace Welch Scholarships include Shawn Emilian and Victoria Phu, Class of 2015; Alyssa Copelas and Mohammed Sahar, 2016; Katherine Panneton and Margaret Seyfreid, 2017, and Antonia Katsiris and Jonathan Crimble, 2018. These recipients were recommended by a committee composed of Suzy Welch, Leto and administrators of Salem High School.
The new funding from Jack and Suzy Welch also supports the ongoing $300 million UMass Rising campaign, the largest fundraising effort in the university’s history. The comprehensive campaign, designed to enhance excellence and contribute to the long-term sustainability of the university, recently passed the $242 million mark. Welch is an honorary co-chair of the UMass Rising campaign.
Welch was GE’s youngest CEO and chairman and led the company from 1981 to 2001, during which its market value rose from $12 billion to $400 billion. Since retiring, he has served as a corporate consultant to a number of Fortune 500 companies and has written two best-selling books: “Jack: Straight from the Gut,” and, with his wife Suzy Welch, “Winning.”
Welch graduated from UMass Amherst in 1957 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. He went on to earn a master’s degree and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois.
He received the UMass Amherst Engineering Award in 1974 and the President’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1981. He was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree in 1982, and in 1997 he was awarded the university’s President’s Medal.