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Annual Day of Academic Presentations Set for April 19
Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., will host its annual Discovery Day on Wednesday, April 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. This year it will feature more than 60 presentations involving more than 300 students discussing their research on everything from pineapple pizza to the study of distant nebula. The day will also feature a keynote address from Rusty Welch, a 1997 Benedictine grad working in conservation along the Louisiana Gulf coast. His presentation, “Just Listen,” is set for 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19, in O’Malley-McAllister Auditorium inside the St. John Paul II Student Center. All events and presentations are free and open to the public.
Each year, Benedictine College cancels its classes and meetings to allow for students and faculty to attend Discovery Day, a day of learning focused on student projects that have been researched outside of the classroom. More than 3000 students have participated in Benedictine’s Discovery Day since its inception in 1996. In that time, most faculty members and academic departments have taken an active role in sponsoring student projects.
Welch was born and raised in the town of Oak Grove in Southwest Louisiana. He attended Benedictine College on a football scholarship and graduated in 1997 with a degree in Biology. He has worked in the conservation industry since graduating from Benedictine College and serves as the Biologist Consultant for the Drainage Board Committee in Cameron Parish in Louisiana. He runs the family-owned business Cajun Ben’s Gator Products, which specializes in alligator products that are handmade and locally sourced from the Louisiana Bayou. He married Ashley Robinson Welch in 1997 and the couple has three adult children and two grandchildren.
Welch is a regular supporter of Benedictine College and its students. In 2021, he and his wife established the Benny and Linda Welch Scholarship in memory of Rusty’s parents. The scholarship supports full-time Benedictine College students majoring in Biology who demonstrate financial need. Rusty recently hosted a group of Benedictine College biology majors and professors in Louisiana, where they learned about management of the levee and bayou systems, alligator management, various species living in the swamps, and conservation programs in the state. They also enjoyed fishing for redfish and dining on traditional Cajun food like gumbo and fried alligator tails, shrimp, clams and oysters.
Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.