The news was delivered Friday at a fall address to faculty Friday morning.
"I've had a great opportunity to serve this university for over 21 years, together we have accomplished a great deal. Now I've decided This will be my last year as president of Fresno State," Welty said.
At the end of his annual fall speech President John Welty surprised a packed room that his long tenure at Fresno State is coming to an end effective at the end of the year.
Staff members were visibly shocked as they stood to thank Welty for his 21 years of leading Fresno State. As Dr. Welty leaves, he outlined the challenges still ahead.
"There is a lot of un certainty ahead but the only thing I can assure you of is that if the November tax initiative fails, we'll become a smaller and leaner university," Welty said.
Welty told staff members if Prop 30 fails Fresno State will have to increase fees or lower enrollment, leaving jobs at risk.
And now Fresno State faces another challenge - finding a new leader.
"He has been the most amazing president and so I'm still shaking from the news. I'm probably going to cry a little bit more today," College of Social Sciences Dean Luz Gonzalez said.
Welty's career highlights include a record amount of money raised, new buildings like the library and Save Mart Center. He leaves with a few blemishes as well, including several discrimination lawsuits. In the end, for Welty the key to success at Fresno State remains access to education.
"As the first in the family to graduate from college, I've been able to live the American dream. The most important thing that we can do this year is to make sure we keep the dream of a college education for thousands of students in Central California," he said.