In recognition of her outstanding philanthropic and volunteer efforts, Rhonda Welsh, executive director for Detroit Outreach at Central Michigan University, has been named one of the 2021 Michigan Chronicle Women of Excellence.
In the publication's awards announcement, publisher Hiram E. Jackson said the Women of Excellence initiative "celebrates phenomenal women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, unwavering conviction, and extraordinary grace." Honorees are selected for their achievement in business, philanthropic and volunteer efforts, community involvement and more.
"I am honored to be recognized alongside so many of the area's top achievers. Many women that I admire, like former Central Michigan University board member Dr. Marilyn French Hubbard, have received this honor," says Welsh. "It is exciting to have my work acknowledged in such a public manner."
Welsh currently sits on the Metro Detroit Regional Board of Directors for Read to a Child; the Steering Committee of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Classical Roots Celebration; the Advocacy Advisory Council of the Detroit Regional Chamber; and the Council of Dianas for Plowshares Theatre Company. She is a longtime Rhonda Walker Foundation volunteer, and she has previously held board and committee positions with Volunteers of America, Teen HYPE and AA490.
CMU President Bob Davies said the award is a fitting tribute to Welsh's efforts to expand CMU's role within the Detroit community and create a reciprocal ecosystem of support between and among the university, city leaders, business partners and nonprofit organizations, as well as students, families and alumni.
"Our Leadership Standards compel us to hire and nurture service-oriented leaders. In many ways this acknowledgement confirms our commitment to engaging our many Detroit community stakeholders," Davies said.
Welsh said she was a Custer Elementary School student when she and thousands of other Detroit Public Schools students "bought a brick" to help build the Charles H. Wright Museum's new facility — and she's been hooked on community building ever since. Now, she hopes to use her knowledge and experience to mentor others.
"I want to learn from this network of women," says Welsh. "I'm sure that this honor will open up a chance to pay it forward and pass on knowledge to others."