Restaurateur Diane Welburn was born on February 26, 1948 in Sea Isle City, New Jersey to Jean Riddick and Thomas Lacey. At two months old, Welburn was adopted by Albert Wilson and Mollie Wilson. Welburn attended Monroeville Elementary School and later graduated from Woodstown High School. She received her B.A. degree in social work as an Educational Opportunity Fund King Scholar at Glassboro State College, now known as Rowan University, in 1974. Welburn later returned to Glassboro State College to pursue a special education and early childhood teaching certification and a New Jersey real estate license.
Welburn worked in Camden, New Jersey with the Camden New Jersey State Division of Youth and Family Services, as a social worker, prior to joining the Woodbury, New Jersey School District as a special education teacher, where she earned tenure. While she taught, Welburn’s husband, Craig Welburn, began a four year part-time training program with the McDonald’s Corporation in 1979 that would prepare him to purchase and run his own McDonald’s franchise. The couple purchased their first McDonald’s location in the West Kensington neighborhood of North Philadelphia in 1983. That same year, Welburn and her husband founded their own company, Welburn Management. Through Welburn Management, the couple would acquire eight restaurants in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Delaware. They expanded into the Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia areas in 2001, adding another twenty five restaurants. Welburn went on to found the Craig T. & Diane E. Welburn Philanthropic Fund in 2016, where serving as president.
Welburn has received a number of awards and honors, including the distinguished Rowan University Education Opportunity Alumni Award from her alma mater as well as the Chester County Jack and Jill Mother of the Year Award. Her business endeavors have earned her and her husband, Craig Welburn, the Ronald McDonald Award for Community Involvement, the Dale City Business of the Year Award and McDonald’s National Black McDonald’s Operators Association Dr. Lozelle J. DeLuz Award.
Welburn and her husband, Craig Welburn, have four children.
Diane Welburn was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 19, 2018.