Kelli Welzel, former director of new student programs, served for five years at California Baptist University and is now transitioning to Sandals Church in Riverside to be the church’s guest services director.
Welzel worked in financial aid at CBU before transferring to her position as director of New Student Programs and working with First-Year Orientation and Christian University Success leaders.
While Welzel said she is excited for her new job at Sandals Church, she said she will miss the students and community at CBU.
“All of my highlights at CBU revolve around the students,” Welzel said.
Welzel has a master’s degree in college student development and said she has always had a passion for helping students. FOCUS has become a family for her and explained she will miss the everyday interaction with her students and hearing about their lives.
Welzel also said she is proud of how FOCUS has transformed in the past three years.
“I ask FOCUS leaders why they chose their job,” Welzel said. “They tell me they want to help people and share the gospel. They get the heart of it.”
Welcome Weekend is CBU’s first chance to share the love of Christ through FOCUS leaders’ actions before they get a chance to verbally share God with students. Welzel will be utilizing her welcoming spirit and hospitality skills at Sandals Church as her team will be welcoming people before they hear a sermon.
Justin Pardee, director of communications at Sandals Church, said he is excited for Welzel’s contributions.
“Every week thousands of people show up at one of our many Sandals Church locations and, for many of them, it is their first experience with church,” Pardee said. “Kelli is going to be leading an incredible team of volunteers to help our guests feel welcome and at home from their very first visit. We look forward to welcoming Kelli to our team as we walk alongside people as they become real with themselves, God and others.”
Beverly Querin, Office of Leadership and Transitions secretary, describes Welzel as one of the most positive people she has ever met.
“Kelli never let her stress show,” Querin said. “She was always able to find the good in people. We are sad to see her go but happy to see her doing what God is telling her to do.”
Welzel has helped to develop the Welcome Weekend and FOCUS programs, and while she is leaving, students say her legacy will remain.