by Sarah Achenbach
Dr. Patricia Welch, former dean of Morgan State University’s School of Education and Urban Studies, has spent her life as a trailblazer. A member of the first desegregated class at Baltimore’s Eastern High School, she spent 22 years teaching in Baltimore City Public Schools and was president of the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners. While at Morgan State, she led the development of East Baltimore’s Henderson-Hopkins School, a K–8 school operating under a contract with Baltimore City Public Schools and run by the Johns Hopkins School of Education in partnership with Morgan State.
On June 29, the Henderson-Hopkins School named its auditorium for her. The multi-use Dr. Patricia Welch Auditorium hosts performances, assemblies, a food pantry, and more—fitting uses to honor the community-focused Welch, who retired in 2019 and served as Henderson-Hopkins’ first board president from 2014 to 2018.
“I cannot think of a more deserving person,” says Annette C. Anderson, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Safe and Healthy Schools and Henderson-Hopkins’ former executive director. Anderson worked closely with Welch to build the school. “Patricia really knew how to knit it all together. She wanted to make sure we did right by all of the kids.”
Calling the naming honor “an act of love,” Welch was visibly moved at the ceremony, which included an a cappella performance by a Henderson-Hopkins student and remarks by educators and community leaders, including Charles Aloe, president, Henderson-Hopkins board of trustees; Cheryl Washington, president and CEO of Eastern Baltimore Development Inc.; and Dr. Glenda Prime, dean of Morgan State’s School of Education and Urban Studies. Each spoke of Welch’s lasting impact on Henderson-Hopkins and the larger community. SOE Dean Christopher Morphew also attended the event.
At the event, Welch shared her hope for the yet-unknown but transformative impact performances and events in the Welch auditorium will have. “We don’t know who [the] children will become, so we want to do the best we can, as often as we can, for whom we can, while we can,” she said.