A dedication ceremony was held recently at the Middlesboro campus of Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College honoring former mayor and community leader Troy Welch.
The event marked the official naming of one of the three buildings on the campus as the Troy Welch Applied Science Building honoring him. As mayor, Welch worked tirelessly to secure the land on which the school was erected during the mid-1990s.
The ceremony to honor Welch, who died in 2011, was attended by members of his family, representatives of SKCTC and many friends of the former mayor.
Campus director Dr. Vic Adams addressed the large gathering by recognizing members of the Welch family, noting that the naming of the building would be the first structure on the campus to bear the name of an individual.
Dr. W. Bruce Ayers, president of Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College, recalled how Welch played a significant role in securing the property where the campus, one of five full-service campuses operated by Southeast, was constructed. He noted that Welch was able to negotiate with the city’s Airport Board securing a more affordable price for the acreage, and a year later ground was broken for the construction phase of the campus. The campus began accepting students in 1997, and today serves over 2,000 students.
In 2009, Welch was honored by Ayers and the college as the recipient of the President’s Service Award for his efforts to aid and support Southeast in the institution’s service and mission to the region. Today, the college, located at Middlesboro, Pineville, Harlan, Whitesburg and Cumberland, educates over 5,000 students while offering over 50 programs leading to degrees, diplomas and certificates, as well as providing specialized workforce training.
Alice Maddox, Welch’s daughter, spoke to those in attendance saying how humbled and proud her father would have been to know the building was being named in his honor.
“My father was very concerned about the youth of the community and the creation of a branch of Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College in Middlesboro. It quickly became a vision for him as he worked tirelessly and relentlessly to see the dream come to fulfillment,” she said.
She went on to note, “Through my younger eyes I never realized the energy he expended to improve the community while working long hours for our family. Today, my mature eyes look around this place and see a building named in his honor, and I merge these two remembrances — My father’s love of politics and his passion for service, with results for our community.”
Maddox, representing her mother Jenna, and siblings, Jay and Leigh Ann, recalled how her father had an “innate” gift to be a “forward” thinker.
“He truly had a vision of how he wanted Middlesboro to progress then and in the future. I marvel at his insight and his intuition even today. My father recognized the needs of the citizens, businesses and institutions of this city and was willing to put himself out there to do something about it. Southeast became his vision, he became relentless in his pursuits to see the college built and to begin educating the youth of the area.”
Others who appeared during the program and recalled the work done by Welch included state Rep. Rick Nelson, Jennifer Jones and Bob Vaughn.