By Tiffany Gricher ('05)
This is just one of many stories from Madison magazine's award-winning Professors You Love series, written by JMU students and alumni, about the professors that have made the most impact on their lives — then, and now.
Tiffany Gricher ('05) and business professor Steve Welpott
From the first day I stepped into professor Steve Welpott's General Business 160 course, I knew he was going to be an amazing professor. He started each class with a joke, which lightened many a long studious day. One of his best openers involved a Texas "quickie," whose punch line turned out to be Vice President Dick Cheney correcting President George Bush's mispronunciations of the word "quiche."
Mr. Welpott tells it better than me.
Professor Welpott is my favorite professor at JMU because he does everything he can to go above and beyond the call of making business courses interesting. Through his passion for business and success in the corporate world, he relates class material to areas that are pertinent to college students' lives so we can use the information that we are learning in hands-on situations.
When professor Welpott introduces new materials, he always leaves time for questions and makes sure everyone fully understands before moving on. His group assignments allow students to actively take roles in mastering the information. One of my favorite class assignments involved a choice of creating a new product or enhancing an already existing product. Student teams chose a product and presented it to the class to show its innovative aspects. Professor Welpott shared examples of successful past student projects, so we could learn from our peers. One particular project included a video of students in a residence hall creating a product that helped reduce the odor of student rooms. Professor Welpott's projects allow students to be hands-on, active, creative and knowledgeable of company development and marketing.
Since GBUS 160 is such an important class for business majors, Mr. Welpott makes sure his students really grasp its themes and materials. His tests are fair and require students to practically apply the information he teaches. Mr. Welpott helped confirm my interest in choosing the business major. He relates textbook information to his own corporate experience with Marriott, which has increased my appetite to make it in the business world. Professor Welpott is always available to meet with students — even former students like me. He continues to mentor me and has helped me with problems in other business classes.
In a recent mentoring assignment, I was required to ask a mentor three questions throughout the semester that dealt with our class curriculum. Every time professor Welpott answered a question, he went above and beyond to help me by providing references where I could read more information and conduct further research. My peers in that class only received one- or two-sentence answers from their mentors.
It's never just "business as usual" with professor Welpott; he always exceeds expectations. He even wrote a recommendation for me when I applied for a semester abroad program. When I thanked him for all his help, he said, "No problem, I'm just trying to make a difference."
He truly does.
About the professor
Business professor Steve Welpott joined the hospitality and tourism department in 2000. He earned his M.B.A. with a major in hotel, restaurant and institutional management from Michigan State University. From 1977 to 2000, Welpott worked for Marriott International Inc., first as an auditor and later as director of human resources. He also created Marriott's internship program for finance and accounting students. Prior to serving Marriott, Welpott worked as a certified public accountant and served in the U.S. Navy. He and his wife, Joyce, have three children, including Jeff ('95), a JMU finance graduate.
About the author
Tiffany Gricher is a senior marketing major from Burke, Va. She has completed a semester abroad in Belgium and is minoring in human resource development.