Don Welch 1932-2016


“After I die,think of me occasionally.I want to see the worldthrough your eyes.”(1)

A Nebraska iconic poet and retired UNK English professor Don Welch died at the age of 84 in his home last Saturday.  How does one write a tribute to such a great man?  I can only follow his advice and put one word after the other to see where it leads.  He has long since retired however, decades later is still leaving lasting impressions upon the Kearney campus.  To quote Shaun Friedrichsen, a recent UNK graduate and Fairbury news editor, “I am forever grateful for that stability, which allowed me to get to where I’m at today.“  It is not just the statue that rests in honor of his contributions for years to come, it is the lasting imprints of wisdom and advice to the UNK community.  It is we that will take care to honor him, in his absence, by creating memorable air.


About your classrooms

“The unimaginative believe there are no rooms which remember those who absent them,

That absence vacuums everything in its sleep.

Not so. For years what moves in a classroom are its vital ghosts.

It’s true, those who hated these rooms or suffered them impassively are gone.

Not you.  The good memory of yourselves is what you’ve earned to.

For you these classrooms have been the ivory of a narwhale’s tusk,

And you our scrimshaw artists intricate at work.

You have honored us by taking such remarkable care.

Few shape absence into memorable air.”

Don Welch


To read more about Don Welch follow the links below.

One thought on “Don Welch 1932-2016

  1. Thank you for this lovely tribute. I shared it on the Nebraska Center for the Book Facebook page and would love to share it in the Nebraska Center for the Book Newsletter (NCB News), if the author of this post can contact me and give me permission. Thanks, Mary Jo Ryan

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