Cornelius Welch, OFM
1913 – 1985
Fr. Cornelius Welch, OFM, was born on Aug. 26, 1913 in Niagara Falls, N.Y. After two years at St. Bonaventure College, Allegany, N.Y., he entered the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1935, professing temporary vows one year later. He made his solemn profession in 1939 and was ordained in 1941.
His first assignment was to St. Bonaventure College, where he taught mathematics and became registrar. He joined the education department and served as dean. In 1955, Fr. Cornelius became dean of the university, and successively served as vice president for academic affairs, executive vice president, assistant to the president, and acting president in 1972. From 1967 to 1969, he was vice president for academic affairs at Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y.
After his tenure as acting president, Fr. Cornelius gave up administrative posts and continued on the faculty as professor of education and an instructor of photography. He loved St. Bonaventure University with a passion, and was loved in return by faculty, students, staff and alumni. His boundless energy, time and talents were given for the benefit of the university and its students.
He died there on Nov. 25, 1985. Fr. Cornelius was 72 years old, a professed friar for 29 years and a priest for 44 years.