John Welty, Fresno State's top dog, says farewell to president’s home

The Fresno BeeJune 25, 2013 

John Welty, Fresno State’s outgoing president, will move out of his Fresno home of 22 years on Wednesday.

Welty and his wife Sharon Brown-Welty chatted Tuesday about moving out, surrounded by boxes they’ll bring with them to their new home near Palm Springs.

“This has certainly been a beautiful home to live in, lots of events and activities here as part of the university life,” Welty said. “We’ll certainly miss it, but most importantly we’ll miss the people.”

Welty and his wife sold many of their belongings during a June 8 yard sale. But big cardboard boxes filled with Christmas decorations and kitchenware filled the 72-year-old home as Welty, clad in shorts and casual shirt, gave a brief tour to reporters on Tuesday.

He found several mementos as he packed up over the last few months: old glassware, T-shirts dating to 1993, a trinket from California State University, Fresno’s 24-7 Freedom Bowl win over USC.

“I will have lots of good memories of this beautiful home,” he said. “There’s lots of things that have jogged my memory.”

With his tenure starting in August 1991, Welty is the longest-serving of seven presidents in Fresno State’s 102-year history. And his work isn’t finished yet: He plans to spend the next few weeks wrapping up performance reviews and approving annual budgets.

He’ll officially pass the torch to incoming President Joseph Castro on July 31, and will live in a Campus Pointe apartment until then. In August, Welty and his wife are headed to La Quinta, just south of Palm Springs, to their new 3,200-square-foot home situated on the 12th hole of PGA West’s Jack Nicklaus golf resort.

The university is preparing to give the president’s residence a facelift over the next few weeks, with new paint, carpets and fences anticipated to cost $125,000.

The 7,300-square-foot home, which all Fresno State presidents are required to live in, is located on Van Ness Boulevard.

It was given to Fresno State by the McMahan family in 1965, but hasn’t had new paint or its floor coverings replaced since Welty moved in 22 years ago, said Cynthia Teniente-Matson, vice president for administration and chief financial officer at Fresno State. Several much-needed repairs are scheduled before Castro takes the reigns on Aug. 1, she said.

“There are some specific elements of the project that we want to consider as we welcome a new family into the home, especially one with a young child,” she said in a statement. Castro will move in with his wife Mary and 2-year-old son Jess later this summer.

The university plans to make the home safe for a toddler, adding a fence to the north side of the property near an orchard and a mesh fence around the pool.

In all, the university plans to spend $49,000 on safety improvements, $49,000 on paint and floor coverings and $27,000 on deferred maintenance projects.

Fresno State spokeswoman Shirley Armbruster said construction costs will be covered by both state and private funds.

The reporter can be reached at 559-441-6412, or @hannahfurfaro on Twitter.

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