For as long as he could remember, Wayne Welty M’15 dreamt about serving in the military. It was the reason he made the choice to join the U.S. Marine Corps right out of high school. Throughout his 13 years of service, Welty has been fortunate enough to travel to different parts of the world. He spent time in Japan, Korea, Germany, Kuwait, Iraq, Guam, Turkey, South America, and lived in Hawaii for nine years and California for three. Thanks to the support provided by the military, Welty was able to complete his bachelor’s degree and a graduate certificate while on active duty.
“Expertise in operations, information security, physical security and personal security investigations required stringent attention to detail and accountability,” Welty said of his previous work experience in the Marine Corps. His duties required creating and implementing Department of Defense policies. He also interpreted presidential, secretary of the Navy and other national level directives in order to manage and protect classified military information.
For Welty, there is a sense of pride that he gets from serving for his country. There’s “something special,” he shared, about wearing a uniform which represents so many great attributes of the United States. At the University of Findlay’s Veterans’ Honor Wall and Flagpole Dedication Ceremony during Homecoming and Family Weekend, where he was asked to speak as a student veteran, he referenced courage and commitment and feels these qualities are a large part of serving in the military. “Maintaining traditions and being a part of an amazing team of highly motivated people is the most rewarding part of serving,” Welty said. “I can’t imagine doing anything else, and I hope to continue serving until I’m no longer able.”
In addition to service, Welty has always been interested in expanding his education not only to better himself, but to continue serving his country in the best way possible. He is a self-proclaimed “lifelong learner.”
“Being around the world with the Marine Corps has given me a perspective of how fortunate we are to live in a free nation,” he said. He has come to understand how education plays a big role in his ability to serve his country.
Luckily, the time he spent in service provided him with the chance to further his education. “Utilizing the GI Bill afforded me the prospect to continue my education at the University of Findlay and complete graduate work,” said Welty. With this education, he hopes to make the switch from the Marine Corps to the Navy as a medical service corps officer. “I love being able to give back and help as many people as possible,” he said.
In 2015, Welty earned his Masters of Business Administration and Organizational Leadership from UF where he received assistance and support from many professors, advisors and mentors. His first impressions of the University came from his advisor, Scott Freehafer, Ph.D., “Dr. Freehafer advises a large number of students,” said Welty, “but was able to give me a feeling of personal compassion for my well-being and ultimately my success in the program.”
Welty also received assistance from Professor Lisa Bradley, M.B.A. Bradley introduced Welty to the healthcare field and her passion for the field is what lead Welty to pursue Findlay’s graduate programs. He has been overwhelmed with the amount of assistance both professors have provided him in every aspect of pursuing his degree. Welty is currently halfway through his graduate program earning a Master of Science in Health Informatics.
Still, Welty can’t take all the credit for his accomplishments. He strongly believes that none of his goals or achievements would have been possible without the strong support of those beside him. His family remained supportive of him no matter which direction he wanted to pursue and his friends have been there for him whenever he needed help. He found the UF community to be as supportive as his family and friends in understanding his goals.
He has never felt out of place, or alone, during his time at UF. “I’m humbled by all of those who helped me and can’t say enough about the community within UF who made the entire graduate experience stress free and welcoming,” said Welty.
He is appreciative of the faculty and staff for their expert guidance throughout his academic career. “I’ve been greeted at every turn by supportive faculty,” said Welty. “As a student veteran I’ve felt welcomed and embraced by the community and University alike.”
Welty is eager to see the final display for the Veterans’ Honor Wall and supports the University’s efforts to recognize student veterans. “The Veterans’ Honor Wall is unique and shows how much the University genuinely cares for its student veterans, both future, current and past,” he says. “This commitment and outward display of support makes UF stand apart from other universities in this endeavor.”
For Welty, the Honor Wall also is a testament to the sacrifices each veteran has made in order to preserve the American way of life. Seeing his name on the wall is not only representative of himself and what he has done, but all those who have served alongside him.
“Paying tribute to the student veteran is another great way the University of Findlay stands out from other universities,” said Welty. “The honor wall is a sign of the values held by the University and recognition of those who wish to pursue a career in the military.”