Many of the students, faculty, and staff who’ve called The University of Texas home have a deep love for our school, but few personified that love like Dr. Glenn A. Welsch.
Glenn spent thirty-two years with The University teaching all levels of accounting. He built his home on fill excavated from a building site on the UT campus and with bricks taken from a building being torn down. He painted his restored 1912 Metz burnt orange. He wore burnt orange clothing on any appropriate occasion. He literally surrounded himself and his family with UT’s earth, walls, and spirit. The potent combination of his personality and the UT environment bettered the lives of all it touched. When he retired from full-time UT employment in 1986, he could look back on a career many of his colleagues admired, and none have matched.
Glenn Welsch was born in Oklahoma in 1915 on land homesteaded by his family. This frontier life delivered lessons of poverty (the four men in the Welsch family had to sleep in the one bed, Glenn’s older sister was placed with another family), misfortune (the 280-square-foot Welsch family home burned down twice), tragedy (his mother died when he was only three years old), family (due to a stroke, his father had limited stamina; Glenn and his brothers had to work together to run the farm), and love (which kept them together).
Glenn Welsch served in the Signal Corps with the 45th National Guard Division in both Europe and the Pacific during World War II. Prior to military service, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern Oklahoma State College in 1935, then taught typing and bookkeeping to high school students in Alva, Oklahoma.
In 1942, at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, Glenn married Irma Richards, an Oklahoma beauty who loved riding horses.
After leaving the military, Glenn briefly sold insurance, and then earned a master’s degree from Oklahoma State. He entered The University of Texas business doctoral program in
Guided by legendary accounting faculty professors George L. Newlove, C. Aubrey Smith, and John Arch White, Glenn earned his doctorate in 1953 and immediately became their faculty colleague. By 1958 he was a tenured full professor and the accounting department chair.
Glenn Welsch’s first love always was teaching. He had a talent for teaching, and teaching rejuvenated him. His opening statement to his classes (and to almost everyone else with whom he had an ongoing relationship) ran like this: “My success depends on how effectively I help you succeed. I’ll tell you the truth and I expect the truth from you. I’ll do my best; I expect you to do your best. Help me and I’ll help you.”
When Glenn Welsch wasn’t teaching, he was writing. His living teaching legacy includes thousands of today’s CPAs and business leaders who received at least part of their education from Welsch-authored textbooks. His dissertation on corporate budgeting practices in the U.S. became a popular textbook that was still in use at the time of his death and has been translated into seven languages.
Glenn and Irma Welsch enjoyed a lifelong relationship, ended only by their deaths in 2004; first Irma’s, and then Glenn’s a few months later. They had three children: sons, Linden and Andy; and daughter, Mary Ann.
“The University of Texas has given me everything I have. The University of Texas made possible everything I did. Whatever I’ve done, it was because of The University of Texas.”