Longtime Business Law Professor Bob Welker Tops All Donors: Makes Donations For 41 Consecutive Years
By Keith Morelli
TAMPA (August 25, 2017) -- Business law professor Bob Welker is no stranger to the halls of the Muma College of Business. And the college is no stranger to Welker's largesse.
Each year, he makes donations. He began giving long before most of the students attending his classes were born.
The professor, who has taught at USF for more than half a century, was recognized Friday afternoon at the annual Muma College of Business Scholarship Luncheon.
"We started looking for who has been donating the longest," said Muma College of Business Dean Moez Limayem, "and Bob has been doing it every year for 41 years."
The room, filled with nearly 400 students and donors, erupted in applause, as Welker walked to the stage to receive his plaque.
"Yeah, I had no idea about this," Welker said later. "I just couldn't believe it. Like I said, you send me a card, I'll send you a check."
Welker made his first gift to USF in September 1976.
He has given multiple gifts to funds such as: the Faculty/Staff Scholarship Fund, Accounting Circle Operating Fund, the Black Faculty and Staff Association Scholarship and the William Stevens Endowed Memorial Scholarship in Marketing.
In 2007, he established the Robert F. Welker/United Faculty of Florida Scholarship with $5,000. This was his largest gift.
An art aficionado and cat fanatic who every day in class wears one of about 200 neckties depicting cats in all sorts of poses, Welker, didn't really know how much his donations have totaled over the years. He did not want to make any guesses.
Welker earned a law degree in 1965 from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree in political science from Earlham College in Indiana.
From 1966 to 1974, he was an assistant professor at USF and prior to that, he was a faculty lecturer of business law at Indiana University. He was awarded an MBA in 1974 from USF and since then he has been an associate professor of business law in the business school. His courses have varied from introductory law to partnerships and corporations and he has taught both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Welker received the USF Teaching Incentive Program Award in 1994 as well as the Hillsborough County Bar Association's recognition award for 20 years of continuous service as chair of the association's law day creative art contest. In 2009, he received a USF faculty award for working with disabled students.
He also has been the chief negotiator, vice president and senator of USF's chapter of United Faculty of Florida.
He is a member of the Temple Terrace Bar Association, the Florida Bar Association, the Indiana Bar Association, the Hillsborough County Bar Association, the American Business Law Association and Tampa Bay Estate Planning Council.
Giving to USF is like giving to family, he said.
"My wife, sister and nephew," he said, "all are USF graduates."