Distinguished Scholar in Residence

January 9, 2017

In a joint announcement, USC’s Office of Religious Life and the John A. Widtsoe Foundation have named BYU law professor John W. Welch Distinguished Scholar in Residence, where he will be guest lecturing and directing research during the spring 2017 semester beginning in January.

The designation recognizes Welch’s prolific scholarship spanning 40 years in law, classical languages, biblical and scriptural commentary, and his contributions to Mormon Studies and Mormon History. While at USC and the Foundation, Welch will be a guest lecturer in the classroom, participate in interfaith conversations with campus-based religious leaders, engage in research and writing, direct Foundation initiatives and be a featured speaker at LDS firesides and community gatherings in Southern California.

Varun Soni, Dean of Religious Life at USC, said “Welch’s training in law at Duke, his classical studies at Oxford, as well as his scholarly work within the LDS faith will bring a unique perspective to our religious life forums. I also anticipate many rich and rewarding dialogues will take place with interfaith council members, faculty and students generating thoughtful exchanges and learning moments. We are honored to have a scholar of Prof. Welch’s stature at USC.”
Larry L. Eastland, Ph.D., chairman and president of the Widtsoe Foundation, said Welch “is one of the leading Mormon scholars of the 21st Century.  When you look at the breadth and depth of Jack’s prolific writings on scriptural and Mormon theological topics, his pioneering work in establishing renowned global foundations, his academic coursework, his appointments to prestigious and well-known national and international societies, conferences and institutes, the Widtsoe Foundation is honored to name him our first Distinguished Scholar in Residence.”

Welch is the Robert K. Thomas Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School.  He grew up in Southern California and as an undergraduate at BYU, majored in history and minored in mathematics, and earned a Master’s Degree in Classical Greek and Latin languages. He was named a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and studied Greek Philosophy at Oxford University.

He is a graduate of Duke Law School and was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Oxford University. He practiced law in Los Angeles with O’Melveny & Meyers and founded the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS). Welch joined the BYU law faculty in 1980 and served as an editor for Macmillan’s Encyclopedia of Mormonism. He has authored 18 books and written hundreds of book chapters and journal articles.  He is currently editor of BYU Studies and a member of the Editorial Board of BYU’s New Testament Commentary Series.