William Lee Welch, Jr. was a U.S. politician and former mayor of State College, Pennsylvania, most recently reelected in 2007. He had been the mayor since he was first elected in 1994, before which he was a member of the borough council. Mayor Welch died on September 4, 2009 at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, after suffering complications from leg surgery. He was 67 years old. A link to a video of the community celebration of his life is at: http://www.statecollegepa.us/index.aspx?NID=1269
Welch was born in Philadelphia, but spent most of his life in State College and is a graduate of State College High School in 1959 and of Penn State University in 1964. He formerly worked as editor of the Centre Daily Times newspaper for over 25 years and then of the American Philatelist, a magazine published by the American Philatelic Society.
As mayor, he annually welcomed first-year students at Penn State held at the new student Convocation and the Arts Festival, Welch also took part in Penn State's Homecoming activities, taught students about local government, met regularly with international students, gave tours of the State College Borough building and frequently attended building dedications and other events on campus such Take Back the Night, Veteran's Day ceremonies and celebrations honoring Martin Luther King Jr. — often giving remarks and providing history about town-gown relations. Welch also served as co-chairman of the Campus and Community Partnership United Against Dangerous Drinking, where he was involved in efforts to help curb dangerous drinking.