Claude R., Welch (1922-2009) began his term as dean in August of 1971 following a stint by J. Hilary Martin of CDSP as Acting Dean (1970-71). In December, he also became president, a role in which he served until June 1, 1982. Welch continued as dean until 1987.

He contributed to the expansion of GTU’s programs and services, notably the academic ties between the GTU and the UC-Berkeley, including the joint Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies and cross-registration for courses. He oversaw the admission of affiliated centers, institutes, and programs such as the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute; Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences; Institute of Buddhist Studies; Pacific Asian-American Center for Theology and Strategies; and the Center for Ethics and Social Policy. He  secured permits and plans for the GTU Common Library building and completion of Phase I in 1981.