New endowment will bring Native American writers to University of Montana

Skylar Rispens

The University of Montana announced Monday a new visiting writer fund established by Lois Welch to honor her late husband, acclaimed author James Welch.

The James and Lois Welch Distinguished Native American Visiting Writer Fund will bring a Native American writer to campus to teach each spring semester. The position will be endowed through a gift from Lois Welch’s estate plan and the funds will be invested so that the earnings can support the program in perpetuity.

“Jim would be in a happy state of shock today to hear us formalize this (fund) in the UM Creative Writing program,” Lois said on Monday.

“This program, this university, that poet (former professor Richard Hugo), kick-started him on his career as a writer,” she continued.

The residency will kick off with its first guest writer in spring 2023.

Lois previously served as a professor of comparative literature at the university and was head of the creative writing program. The $50,000 per year fund is a “natural progression” in the ways the Welches have supported UM and Native American students, she said.

The Welches have supported a scholarship for creative writing students as well as the James Welch Native American Writers Festival, which is

View Source