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Academic administrator Constance Eileen Watts Welch was born on March 28, 1946, in Durham, North Carolina to Dr. Charles DeWitt Watts, North Carolina’s first African American surgeon, and Lyda Constance Merrick Watts, a community volunteer. Welch's family founded North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, the oldest African American life insurance company. Her maternal great-grandfather, Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore was Durham’s first black doctor and co-founder of North Carolina Mutual and the Durham Colored Library. Welch attended a segregated high school, Hillside High School, in Durham before heading to Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she received her B.A. degree.
Welch began her career in 1968 as a third grade teacher in Atlanta. She later taught in Arlington, Virginia when her husband was drafted for military service. She became a stay-at-home mother after the birth of her two sons in 1970 and 1972. Welch returned to work in the late 1970s and became founder and the chief operating officer of Book Art, Ltd., a chain of bookstores in Fairfax County, Virginia. In 1983, she was named regional manager of the Reston Employment Service where she designed marketing campaigns and negotiated contracts. In 1990, Welch was hired at Inova Health System where she worked in strategic planning, health promotion and disease prevention. In 1994, she was promoted to Director of Development for the Inova Annual Fund. In 1995, Welch earned her M.B.A. degree in public relations, management, and marketing.
After a long career in Virginia, Welch returned to North Carolina in 1996, when she was named Associate Dean of External Affairs at Duke University's School of Nursing. In 2005, Welch was named Executive Director for Advancement at the Center for Child and Family Health, established by Duke University, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University. Welch has also served as a lecturer and community volunteer, serving The Links, Incorporated and the Durham County Library.
Constance Eileen Watts Welch was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 23, 2007.