David F. ’81 and Heidi A. Welch
and Heidi Welch have dedicated their lives to making positive, lasting change in the education and environmental sectors. Together they founded Students Matter, an advocacy group that promotes access to quality public education through impact litigation and communications. They have also been strong supporters of the Engineering Alumni Distinguished Professors program at UD.
Dave’s career spans almost 30 years of entrepreneurial leadership in fiber optic communications. In 2001 he co-founded Infinera, a manufacturer of optical telecommunications systems based in Sunnyvale, CA. He serves as its president and sits on the board. Dave also sits on the board of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a non-profit organization that has helped pass our nation’s bedrock environmental laws.
Dave earned his degree in Electrical Engineering from UD and his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University. He has served on the Engineering College Advisory Council from 2002-2008, and then again starting in 2014 to present. Dave was awarded the college of Engineering Outstanding Alumni Award in 2004 and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014. In 2010 he was honored with the UD Alumni Wall of Fame award, and in 2016 he was elected for membership to the National Academy of Engineering.
Heidi earned her nursing degree from UCLA and her MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business before embarking on a career in pharmaceuticals. Today she serves as vice-president of the David and Heidi Welch Foundation that the couple founded to aid causes that better the environment and enhance education.