History of the American wilderness movement at this week’s IRP

Thomas Welch, professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at SUNY Upstate Medical University, will present “Exploitation, Exploration and Expeditioning: Three Men, Their Mountains and the Birth of the American Wilderness Movement” at the May 19 session of  the Institute for Retired Professionals (IRP).

Welch will discuss the history of the American wilderness movement through three New Yorkers in the Adirondacks—David Henderson, Verplank Colvin and Bob Marshall. Marshall is a graduate of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and the person after whom Marshall Square is named.

Welch received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University, and his medical degree from McGill University in Montreal. He attended the University of Colorado in Denver for his residency in pediatrics and training in pediatric nephrology.

After a few years practicing as a general pediatrician in upstate New York, Welch returned to academia to complete his training in pediatric nephrology at SUNY Upstate in Syracuse. He then moved to Cincinnati to become assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati, and a staff pediatric nephrologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

In 2001, Welch returned to New York to become professor and chair of pediatrics at the SUNY Upstate, where he has grown the department substantially, and led the effort at building the Upstate Golisano Children’s hospital.

Welch also has a “second career” in outdoor education. He is a licensed professional guide, and regularly guides groups on backcountry treks in areas as diverse as the New York Adirondacks, Montana and Alaska. He is on the national advisory board of the Wilderness Education Association, and is a certifying instructor for that organization. He regularly teaches wilderness skills courses through the Denali Education Center, a not-for-profit educational program in Alaska.

IRP, established by University College of Syracuse University, provides opportunities for retired people to stay intellectually active, to expand interests and make new acquaintances. Presentations are made by SU faculty and specialists within the community.

For more information on this program, call University College of Syracuse University at (315) 443-4846, or visit http://www.yesu.syr.edu/IRP.