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LOS ANGELES, CALIF.

In a joint announcement, the University of Southern California’s Office of Religious Life and the John A. Widtsoe Foundation have named BYU law professor John W. “Jack” Welch the Distinguished Scholar in Residence, where he will be guest lecturing and directing research for the spring 2017 semester beginning this month.

The designation recognizes Brother 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, Brother 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 devotionals and community gatherings in Southern California.

Varun Soni, dean of religious life at USC, said Professor 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 Professor Welch’s stature at USC.”

Larry L. Eastland, chairman and president of the Widtsoe Foundation, said Professor 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.”

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The Widtsoe Foundation has announced its goal to fund a chair in Mormon Studies at USC within the USC School of Religion.

Brother Welch is the Robert K. Thomas Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School. 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). Brother Welch joined the BYU law faculty 1980 and served as an editor for Macmillan’s Encyclopedia of Mormonism.

The LDS Church News is an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The publication's content supports the doctrines, principles and practices of the Church.