ward weldon memory book
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DESCRIPTIONA memory book celebrating the life of UIC College of Education Professor Ward Weldon.
In Loving Memory
Ward W. WeldonAugust 4, 1935 - February 12, 2013
A Message From our Dean Ward W. Weldon, an associate professor of educational policy studies and one of the College of Education’s longest-serving faculty members, passed away Feb. 12 after suffering a stroke. He was 77.
A world traveler, teacher, and scholar, Weldon joined UIC in 1969, shortly after the campus moved from Navy Pier to Little Italy, while it was still known as University of Illinois-Chicago Circle. During his four decades at UIC, Weldon developed an expertise in school finance, and his research focused on school improvement and the financial support of school reform. He also studied how school programs contributed to student achievement. As an associate profes-sor, Weldon taught courses in school finance, collective bargaining in education, administrative practice in education, foundations of education, educational supervision, philosophy of education and urban school policy. “He always told us he wanted to leave this earth while doing what he loved best—teaching and working with students—and that is exactly what he did,” said Victoria Chou, dean of the College of Education. “Ward was beloved by successive generations of students and it is hard to believe that he’s gone.” Known throughout the college as a kind and polite man, ever-ready with a joke, Weldon was a gentleman who was never too busy to greet colleagues or
students in the hallways to inquire about their lives. “Ward was my teacher here about 25 years ago,” said Joshua Radinsky, an associate professor of Curriculum & Instruction. “When I first came to work at UIC many years later, he not only remembered me, he also remembered a paper I had written in his class, and asked me about my journey in between. He was a beautiful soul.” William H. Schubert, a curriculum and instruction professor who retired last year from the College of Education and worked with Weldon for nearly 40 years, remembered him as a deliberate, attentive and gracious man. “In doctoral dissertation exams he invariably surprised us with his wise comments, insightful questions, thoughtful listening, references to an immense array of literature and language sources, and hopeful outlook,” Schubert said. “He often said,” he added, “that he was so glad to make a living by doing what he loved most — teaching, consulting, and engaging in what Alfred North Whitehead (whose Aims of Education he often used in classes) said that education should be: ‘the imaginative consideration of learning.’” That was something Weldon took to heart. Whether he was in the classroom or at home, Weldon embraced the needs of those before him and worked to shepherd them to success. “All my memories of him dealing with students who would call the house — he would have no problem speaking with them as long as it took. He seemed to enjoy that. It was not an imposition,” said Mark Weldon, his oldest son. “He treated his children the same way,” he added. “He would give us his time whenever we asked. I think he saw himself as a teacher and his success would be made possible if whoever he taught succeeded, too.”
SIMPLE yET PRoFoUND Weldon’s influence on students, by most measures, was deep, reaching educators and leaders in Chicago and around the world.
He could solve the most perplexing problems with simple, yet brilliant advice, recalled Victor Simon, an EdD student who serves as chief of schools for the Pershing Network in Chicago Public Schools. “He would look at you and grin and rock back in his chair a bit, and say something like ‘you know, we don’t have to make things so complicated,’ and he would come out with this wonderful advice that was just so simple and profound in nature at the same time,” he said. Mary Zeltmann, who earned her doctoral degree in public policy analysis in 1991, recalled how a chance encounter with Weldon one rainy day nearly 22 years ago changed her life. She was then a teacher at Andrew Jackson Language Academy on Chicago’s Near West side, and had been asked by district administrators to take an interim principal position at her school. She wasn’t sure she should. Because she was finishing her degree, she headed to the College of Education later in the day. on her way in, Zeltmann bumped into Weldon. He stopped to chat, and when she asked for advice, he encouraged her to take the job. Later, when she interviewed for the permanent position, Weldon spent hours coaching her through the process. She got the job, and served as principal for 16 years. She credits her success to Weldon. “Sometimes I think: What would have happened to me if he hadn’t been there?” she said. “I believe he made all the difference in my life. I truly do.”
“TEACH” An unorthodox and adventurous path led Weldon to academia.
one of his first jobs was helping his father with his beekeeping business. As a teenager, Weldon labored long hours in the fields collecting combs and transferring honey to jars. He once shared with Dean Chou early in her deanship how the Zen-like nature of beekeeping shaped his life. “There comes a time suddenly when the nectar is no longer flowing and then you’re done for a year,” she recalled him saying. “It does something to your personality to work in the bee fields. It makes you contemplative. you have so much time afterwards when you don’t have anything to do.” While Weldon maintained his introspective nature, idle time was rare for him. When he was not teaching, he was traveling the world for consulting jobs. When he wasn’t traveling, he was learning – whether a new language or new dictation software, as he was doing in the weeks before he died. Even as his body betrayed him, Weldon’s appetite for knowledge burned strong. He often remarked that those he loved considered him a workaholic. But he believed he was pursuing his calling, and was dedicated to it to the end. “I enjoy the teaching so much,” he was known to say. He was indeed in a hurry to attend college, his son, Mark, said, so Weldon left high school during his junior year to attend Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa. Then, eager to travel the world, Weldon moved to Colombia, where he began teaching English. The director of Colegio Bolivar, the school where he taught, saw Weldon’s talent and named him principal. Weldon was only 20. He later left Colombia to go to Germany, where he helped build housing for Hungarian refuges displaced by the 1956 revolution. Shortly after, Weldon decided he should serve his own country, too, and joined the Marines. He chose teaching along with the infantry, and soon his enthusiasm for instructing became so well-known that his fellow troops nicknamed him “Teach.” After his active duty ended, Weldon returned to college, and earned a BS degree in journalism from the University of Kansas in 1958 and an MA degree in public relations from the University of Iowa in 1961. During those years, he worked as a public information director and editor at several organizations, including Evanston Township High School and the National Foundation for Funeral Service. Weldon then went on to earn his MBA from the University of Chicago in 1968 and his PhD in philosophy of education from Northwestern University.
A CANDLE IN THE DARK Weldon has published more than 35 papers in recognized journals, co-authored a book, contributed several chapters to textbooks, and lectured at numerous conferences.
He also won many awards, including an Excellence in Teaching Award in 1994, the Friend of Education Meritorious Award in 1991, and the Award of Commendation from the office of Statewide Planning at the University of Illinois in 1991. His keen interest in global education issues and school improvement drove his desire to travel the world. Weldon, in consulting or teaching roles, traveled to Paraguay, Ecuador, Colom-bia, Cook Islands, New Zealand, Russia, Ethiopia, Korea, U.S . Virgin Islands and Alaska. His grant-funded work has been supported by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United States Agency for International Development, and other organizations. His dedication was equally great at home. For example, he worked in Pilsen to bring technology to a local school to help improve student achievement and consulted on many projects aimed at improving classroom and after-school instruction in inner-city schools. From 1975 to 1980, he consulted on a project that worked to improve educational administration and services in the Cook County correctional system. “I use a proverb,” he once reflected in his professional records: “Better to light a candle then to curse the dark.” And for educators, students and school children across the world, that is what Weldon did.
Weldon is survived by his wife, Rosalynne of Glenview, Ill.; sons Mark and John of Mount Vernon, Iowa; and a daughter, Elizabeth Usselmann of Breese, Ill.
Not a linguist by rank, but a linguist by soulThe heart’s content, an eternal goal
Through every greeting and every smileAlways willing to go the extra mile
To share with you a story from a giving heartA story that was simple, yet made yoU look smart
Will be missed in flesh, but flesh is rottenA lyrical soul is never forgotten
“Crushing news,” “Walls are weeping!”“Life is fragile,” oh so fleeting
Last week in the halls, I wished to sayHow your Dizzie Dean story,
Showed me the wayI thought I could wait, for another day
But life is fragile, do it right awayTo say, “Thank you WARD”you are UIC’s Ste-WARD!
our colleague Ward was a perfect gentleman. None of us ever once saw him impatient or cranky or rude. He was unfailingly positive, generous in his assessments of others, and always inclined to being of service. He routinely had a new story to tell, or a funny joke, or something to show and share. These singular qualities likely account for the immediate and significant outpouring of dismayed reactions from his colleagues and students upon hearing the news of Ward’s passing.
over 34 years of knowing Ward, I have regularly run into his former students in schools, at alumni events, and on the street. Each one wanted me to know how this kind and intelligent man made a difference in their lives, both personal and professional.
He will be missed. -Vicki Chou
A look back at Dr. Weldon’s career
Photographs from the Weldon Family
My prayers are with you at your time of bereavement, I truly hope that you will hold on to the precious memories that you shared with him, to help you through this time. He was one of the best, if not the best Professor I’ve studied under, not just because he knew his craft, but also because of his character. I’m sure you know how special he is, I just wanted to be one of many to reiterate the sentiment.
Thanks to Dr. Weldon, in the early 1990’s, I attended the International Network of Principals’ Centers weekend Institute along with Dr. Weldon at his invitation at Harvard as part of the UIC Team for the UIC Principal’s Center. At the time, the UIC Principals’ Center was conducted during the sum-mers, and I was hired on for 7 summers to teach and share my experiences as a 20+ year veteran practicing principal. It was inspirational to work with Dr. Weldon, who was in charge of this initiative at these week long leadership retreats. I immediately noticed how joyful he was about his interactions with the principal participants, and how worldly-wise and post-competent he was in providing insight into their learning and inquiries. I have remained in touch with Dr. Weldon steadily from those days until this past December, where I fortunately stopped by his office after a visit with Dr. Tozer and his Leadership Program Team, and Dr. Weldon was at his desk. He stopped what he was doing and we just got “caught up,” and then he invited me to his class. I walked with him to class where his students were going to deliver end of course reports. I listened to several, and to his encouraging and positive comments after each report. He also asked me to say a few words to the students, which I did. He was always generous about “sharing the stage.” As a result of my long professional interactions with Dr. Weldon, I maintained my continuing involvement with UIC for the last 20 years, and visit each time I fly in from Florida from Chicago, and now 12 years after our visit to Harvard “as a team for UIC” I have become the Executive Director of the International Network of Principals’ Centers which began at Harvard in 1989 under Roland Barth. It is now based in Florida where we provide Principal Center “Conversations.” Dr. Weldon attended a Conversation we had in Key West in 2004 called Leaders As Learners. His official role was “critical friend” to evaluate the Conference and provide feedback to each keynote session speaker. In true form, Dr. Weldon mentored us graciously through this process, and offered profound advise for our professional growth as speakers. To me, he is a very unique as a teacher, friend, and guide in life. He will be missed, but remembered forever. He is a “treasure.”
I had professor Weldon in the fall of 2011 and he was great! He always had amazing stories to share about his life and what he’s accomplished and the different places he has visited internationally! He loved what he did! Never will forget this man!
Thank you, dear Ward, for welcoming me to what often felt like a closed environment. Thank you for always being the first to wave hello in the hall. Thank you for smiling and for listening. And thank you for showing me what it means to be tirelessly kind and good. I will do my best to live up to your example.
Professor Welden was one of the most remark-able people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He was an excellent professor and I will never forget him. I am so terribly sorry for your loss.
I took many of Dr. Weldon’s classes while finish-ing my master’s program at UIC. I liked the way he ran a classroom (chalkboard outlines, open discussion etc) and loved listening to his stories. He was knowledge-able about all things curriculum, and his easy going nature made class interesting and fun. He was like an older relative. I was sad to hear of his passing. My condolences go out to his family and friends.
I was a student of Dr. Weldon for several courses. His academic knowledge and practical wis-dom have shaped my career as an educator. He was a wonderful man who enjoyed being in the classroom. He was as much a student of academics as he was a teacher of education. His Spanish wasn’t bad either. I can still hear him proudly rolling his R’s when he read a young student’s last name on the first day of class; followed by a healthy laugh for having sur-prised us with his abilities. I was blessed to have him as the first instructor for my graduate studies. May his memory be eternal. Que en paz descanse.
With my deepest sympathy. Dr. Weldon is the most wise and caring professor I have known. A great listener, too. I still remember his genuine and friendly smile and his voice saying, “Is that right!” He helped me find the way when I did not know where to go. I will miss him so much.
Thanks for reaching out to me. I had the pleasure of learning from Dr. Weldon during my Masters program (2003-2005) and most recently in the Ed.D program. What impressed me most about Dr. Weldon was that his experiences in educational leadership spanned across several countries and continents. As a result of these experiences, he was able to provide us with such an extensive perspective about education and educational leadership. What I remember most about his classes was the stories he told us about his experiences in New Zealand, Central America, Africa, etc., and his innate ability to relate them to urban education in the United States. He was always able to connect our course work to something that he experienced which
made his classes so practical, personal, and real world. Lastly, he never let his age or physical limitations impact his passion for the work. He truly was a life long learner and it showed until the very end. I hope this is useful. I can honestly say that I am a better Principal because of Dr. Ward Weldon.
Dr. Weldon was the most compassionate professor at UIC. All students loved him and respected him, not only because he was an excellent professor but because he always supported us effectively. If you did not get a concept or a process, he was all the way with you, to support you. His lessons were just phenomenal. Since Dr. Weldon worked not only in America but all over around the globe, Dr. Weldon had many, many experiences that he used to clarify the topic he was teaching. Dr. Weldon used meta-cognitive strategies whenever he realized that it was necessary to avoid student misunderstanding. These strategies were key in our development as professionals espe-cially when dealing with finances, budget, and issues related to CTU. Dr. Weldon was a
professor with the highest ethics. This was one of his many prominent characteristics. We knew that he was honest, transparent, and that we could trust him as he were a family member. In spite of all his years of experiences and knowledge, he was humble. This made him totally approachable. on top of that, Dr. Weldon had a good sense of humor. We will always love him. He was the best role model that I have seen since I came to America.
My favorite memories of Ward are from the summer, when it’s hot in Chicago, and I imagine my colleagues are traveling the world or writing at a leisurely pace. Clearly, everyone I ride the train with is off to a Cubs game or Taste of Chicago or heading to the beach. In this climate, Ward and I would find ourselves teaching—a rewarding activity, to be sure—but not the same as heading to the beach. Seeing Ward in the halls, sharing a smile and a light conversation, has cheered me again and again, especially in summer. I was not surprised to find others say the same thing about him. I also recall one or two occasions at faculty gatherings in which Ward broke into song. He had a nice voice and a thoughtful, caring way about him. I will miss him year round and anytime I hear music in our building.
I met ProfessorWeldon when I took a summer class probably in 1975. I never forgot him. I just had him for the one class, but he left a mark on me. I’m sure I am not the only student he touched. I’ll never forget his enthusiasm and kindness. My sincere condolences to his family.
-Barbara Skilnik Carten
I have had the pleasure of being enrolled in several courses where Dr. Weldon was the instructor. Dr. Weldon was a very knowledgeable instructor and he was always willing to share his wealth of knowledge. Dr. Weldon was a very caring and supportive member of the UIC staff. Dr. Weldon worked hard to ensure that his students understood the course material and could apply the information in our role as school leaders. I remember that when I returned to UIC, over 10 years had elapsed and Dr. Weldon still remembered me. That made a difference for me. I will always have fond and lasting memories of Dr. Weldon.
-Michelle Van Allen
I first met Professor Weldon as an undergrad student in education. I was placed in schools in the Pilsen area in my training. I went on to gradu-ate and teach in the CPS system for 34 yrs before retiring. There was a time during my career when I considered returning for grad school. Professor Weldon was most encouraging to me and, as others have said, was generous with his time with me. In the five years I spent on the UIC campus I only befriended two professors because they allowed me to come into their lives without judgement. one was John Nichols of New Zealand who died an untimely death and the was your beloved Ward Weldon. Thank you for sharing him with us.
It was wonderful talking with Ward about his travels and his work abroad. He always had fascinating stories about those “adventures” and he was always so humble about the wonderful work he was doing abroad. Not only was he a excellent professor but also a beautiful human being.
Dr. Weldon a very caring and well respected man who loved doing what he did best: teaching and working with his students. Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss. our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.
Memories from the UICCommunity
Dr. Weldon was such a kind, wise, and beautiful soul. Throughout my college career, particularly in my advanced studies, I have never come into contact with a person so philosphically and intimately connected to the love of teaching, and giving so unselfishly to others. He deeply touched my pedagogical philosophy, and to this day, has helped to shape me into the dedicated educator that I have become. The loss of such a fine professor sad-dens me. Nonetheless, I, amongst many others, am deeply grateful for his contributions to the education of teachers. My prayers and empathy go out to the Weldon family.
Professor Weldon was an excellent educator. My acquaintance with Dr. Weldon as my graduate professor (Master in Education 2000) was a wonderful experience. There were many great things he would share with you through his lectures, but the one thing that I always remember him saying is the importance of being a good listener. When you are a good listener you show respect to the speaker and that was truly what Professor Weldon practiced. My condolences to the family and may God bless.
Professor Weldon meant a lot to his students and he made a difference to many of us. May he rest in peace. -Panos Hadjimitsos
Thank you for allowing us to share in the life of Dr. Weldon. He was an inspiration to us all. He shared his vast experiences and deep love and pride for his family in every class. He reminded us too, what is truly important and valuable in life. My heartfelt condolences to you all. Much love and peace to you in your time of sorrow and healing.
Dr. Weldon was a kind person, who always knew my name-even though I never had a formal class with him. My sincere sympathies to the family of this great man.
My fondest memory of Professor Ward Weldon comes from remarks he made during a Philosophy of Education lecture for UIC’s alternative cer-tification Middle Grades Mathematics teacher candidates in 2004. He illustrated an example with references to his family. “What matters most is that grow up to be ‘good people,’ and I can say that about my own children.” As a parent, I have often thought about Professor Weldon’s wise words. I also cannot forget how his vibrant presence resounded in the hallways of the College of Education with kind greetings and the caring respect he showed to all students.
Words aren’t sufficient tools with which to describe the impact Professor Weldon had on me, and by extension, on my students — and by that same extension, on my students’ students. His kindness, his warmth, and his support will be with me always. Thank you, Professor Weldon. you are already missed and cherished.
Dr. Weldon was my adviser during my MEd studies in 2006-2007, and later I did a non-degree independent study with him. During my master’s program I was suffering from several health issues which caused me to need special accommodations in order to complete my studies. Dr. Weldon was always kind and understanding of my needs. I remember fondly discussing Alfred North Whitehead’s “Aims of Education” via phone meetings with him and through papers and emails. Dr. Weldon genuinely seemed interested in my thoughts and comments, and I looked forward to reading his feedback on my work. My thoughts and sympathies are with your family.
-Heidi Lopez Schubert
I was lucky enough to have him on my dissertation committee. He was a kind, insightful, and intellegent man who will be missed.
Professor Weldon, “Ward,” was a great colleague. He was a staunch supporter of students, who came to the assistance of several students that I am aware of. on Doctoral committees, he always asked profound ques-tions. He was a kind, smart, witty, and hard-working human being. He will be greatly missed! I am pleased that he was a part of my life.
I have fond memories of Professor Weldon from my time at UIC. He was a very warm, welcoming, and knowledgeable professor. I really enjoyed my time in his class and I must say he was one of my favorite professors at UIC. I was really saddened to hear of his loss and would like to pass my condolences to his family. May you find strength during this time.
Professor Weldon was one of the most intelligent and good-hearted people who I’ve ever met in my life. He proved to me that chivalry wasn’t dead and taught me so much about life. His stories will never be forgotten. I always looked forward to going to his class (especially if I had a bad day) because he always made me smile. He is one of my inspirations, and I’m so honored to have had him make such an impact on me.
It is with great sadness and sorrow, indeed, that I have learned about Professor Weldon’s death. Professor Weldon was one of the five members of my PhD thesis defense committee. I still remember him on the defense day (in July 2005) as if it was yesterday, sitting at the big round table of the room on the third floor at the South-west corner of the Education building. I will never forget his kindness, goodness, and brightness. His office was always open for a conversation and his comments for my work were so thoughtful. And I also remember seeing him often at the hallway getting in or coming out of his office. He was always very kind and smiling. There was something in him that made him seem a very wise person and a gentleman. As a professor and as a person, Ward Weldon will be respected and remembered by the academic community and his students with great love and honor. I was honored I got to know him and to have him on my committee. I am sure he will rest in peace. I am sending my sincere thoughts and regards to his family.
Ward Weldon was a bright candle whose personality never flickered. He was steady, mild mannered, and genuine. At the beginning of my doctoral journey, I developed a deep understanding of administrative policy and politics as a student in his classes. He created an environment that swelled with thought provoking engagement. I remember he valued my contributions and acknowledged my thoughts, while pushing me to stretch my inquiry skills for deeper understanding. Throughout my years in UIC, I had multiple opportunities to work closely with Dr. Weldon. Collective Bargaining and School Finance came alive for me when he mentored my independent studies. I remember that we talked about the material I read and he expected me to be evaluative and write with clarity and specific purpose. He frowned on the notion that any student could simply read material, only to regurgitate the author’s thoughts. He emphasized with his students that our goal was to extend understanding through analysis and application. Ward Weldon was a man who had a conscious that complimented his scholarly attributes. Although he was a broadly respected academian and consultant with a long vitae of accomplishments, he was a humble and unpretentious man. often we talked about racial, cultural, and social conditions that impacted educational experiences and outcome. Dr. Weldon was comfortable in acknowledging the experiences of others and he saw himself as an advocate to empower communities. He was kind and emitted energy that gave me confidence, yet he was not patronizing. He was results oriented. It is that attitude and demeanor that he displayed as he coached me to the finish line to earn my doctorate in 2011. I will forever be grateful to Ward Weldon because he stepped in at a time when I believed I would sink after so many years of committment. From the time he and I began to work together in his capacity as my Chair, he kept me focused on the end result, provided meaningful feedback, and reassured me that there was no option for me but to do what it took to succeed. To Ward’s spirit, which I believe lives in all of our hearts, I say thank you for being you. Thank you for selflessly going above and beyond. Thank you for being first and foremost, a beautiful human being.
-Carole Collins Ayanlaja
Professor Weldon was a class act. He was a patient listener and always followed through with the empathy and understanding that we looked for in a mentor and educator. I am sad that such a kind soul is no longer with us.
I will be forever grateful for Dr. Weldon’s stories, songs, poetry, and teachings. He is and forever will be etched in my memory and continue to af-fect my positive actions in education. Thank you.
My sincere condolences on the loss of Dr. Ward Weldon. Dr. Weldon was a wonderful person and will be missed very much by all. Dr. Weldon was always so caring, friendly, thoughtful and understanding. Students loved him because he was a fountain of knowledge. Dr. Weldon taught us so much in his classes that he made us better people. Thank you for all the years of teaching us to be better people. I will miss you. Rest in peace.
Dr. Weldon was not only a beloved professor to all his students, he was a father figure to all. He was passionate about his content of his teaching and the quest for his students to succeed. He was my adviser when I newly joined the EDD program. He kindly welcomed me and guided me through the uncertainties of my new experience. I learned more about my beloved professor Weldon when I worked with him on an evaluation project outside of UIC last year. He made sure we met the project deadline and provided my team with important context and skills needed for the evaluation work. As we worked, he told stories that were relevant and timely and did so with a humor rich in wisdom and grace. I will never forget how he jokingly told me
that his wages from the project belonged to his accountant at home. He was refer-ring to his beloved wife who was also as account. I learned a lot from his wisdom and Godly character. We will miss him dearly. May his gentle soul rest in peace. My condolences to his beloved wife and family, the UIC community and all friends of Dr. Ward Weldon.
Dr. Weldon’s energy and passion for education is unforgettable. His resume was no measure to stop learning. In Dr. Weldon’s words, I have had the privilege to work in different communities around the world, but I’m not done yet!
Someone said that getting an “A” in Dr. Weldon’s classes was easy. What that someone did not realize was the fact that Dr. Weldon’s teaching made the “A” attain-able. His explanations were clear to, and understood by the students. His insightful remarks on the students’ reports were always on the money. Dr. Weldon realized that the students were not there to get a grade, but to become better professionals. To all this, you have to add a wonderful sense of humor. I now teach at a small private university, and I can proudly say that I pattern myself in Dr. Weldon’s mold.
Dr. Weldon was my first instructor when I came for my graduate studies in the College of Education, UIC. As a new foreign student, I was so nervous in my first class. But, his kindness and encouragment made me feel I was welcome and I could succeed. Looking back, I felt that I was so lucky that I had Dr. Weldon as my first instructor, which had a great impact on my success in graduate studies and future career. I will miss Dr. Weldon tremendously!
When I came to UIC as Professor of Education Policy and Director of the Center for Urban Educational Research and Development in 1989, it was the beginning time
of recent-days school reform. School Councils were the big new thing and principals had lost tenure. I saw the latter as a huge opportunity for structur-ing some meaningful response to the totally new and destabilizing conditions confronting CPS school building leadership. The Principal’s Center at UIC was that response. It was a major undertaking, and Julius (Menacker), Manny (Hurwitrz), and Ward Weldon immediately jumped in to help in organizing the effort, and in structuring the Summer Insitutes that became the annual concluding event of that larger effort. When Julius and Manny retired, Ward stepped in and shouldered the major task of being the kind-of “chair” of the annual week-long event that was the Summer Institute of the Principal’s Center at UIC. He was untiring in that effort, and without equal in the enthusiasm he brought to the task of making principals and aspiring principals alike see this time together as a unique opportunity for retooling, indeed for newness. It was, at all times, a wonderful time together. outside of Principal’s Center happenings, we lunched togetrher often, often taught School Finance together, and talked about our international experiences: for me, in various parts of the Far East and Africa for the most part; for Ward, about his work mainly in Latin America and the Pacific territories. Now and then, we talked music: for me, the piano; for Ward, his wife’s organ playing. After my retirement, our paths still crossed as I continued to participate in thesis and dis-sertation committee work with him. His was a shining example of what it means for a faculty member to be totally committed to his or her students as teacher and counselor- these two that truly belong together. It was good to have known him. Rest in peace, my friend!
Ward was my tutor, friend, business associate and often mentor. We traveled often to Paraguay and had many memorable experiences and discus-sions. Ward was a renaissance man with a giving heart. It was my good fortunate to know him for forty years.
one of my most memorable moments and unforgettable times was when my wisdom filled mentor, broke into song. He sang us a lullaby during class. I reflect my career attitude and behavior in the manner Dr. Weldon reached my soul. I will forever honor his wisdom.
Dr. Weldon could always be counted on to bring a much needed dose of reality and practical experience to conversations about school leadership that truly grounded the discussion. His anecdotes and sly humor prevented the class discussions from floating off into space where they would have ended up without him. I know that my leadership preparation is stronger because of him.
I had the honor and pleasure of being a student in one of Dr. Ward Weldon’s classes during the fall of 2012. This semester, I worked closely with Professor Weldon as an independent study student. As a graduate student, I always look for opportunities not only to learn more theory and educational
concepts, but to connect with, and utilize this information in everyday life. Professor Weldon truly lived up to this expectation. He shared so much about his experiences serving in the military, playing the voice of GoD in one of James Weldon Johnson’s plays, and discussing the impact of educational theories and policies on today’s school system. He had a unique way of keeping students engaged. I truly appreciate all that I had the opportunity to learn from Professor Weldon. I have attended colleges across the country, and I can say he was truly a one of a kind educator. Many of us often referred to him as the “walking encyclopedia.” His presence in the College of Education will certainly be missed.
I remember Dr. Weldon for his kindness in helping me understand the material he presented in class. He was always attentive to questions and made every contribution seem important. I would often see him walking on campus and he would always greet me with his nice smile. I will always remember him as one of the best human beings I’ve met.
Professor Weldon was a man of such unique wisdom from the first day I took his first class. I will never forget him lecturing us for two and half hours on the syllabus alone:)!!! I knew then that I had met someone very dear and special, heaven sent. He always reminded me of being one of the three wise men of biblical times. And therefore, I eagerly looked forward to taking his classes! My peers and I will be forever grateful for having the honor and privilege to be educated by him. We are truly blessed to have life learned lessons that will always carry out his legacy. Rest in peace Profes-sor Weldon and know that your great work will never be in vain. Thanking God for allowing you the time to teach the world how to educate us all! your legacy spreads across many places that most would not dare to explore. Thank you for believing and teaching the importance of education for everyone. Family may you find comfort, peace and joy in knowing that your husband, father, brother, uncle and dear friend has made a tremendous impact on our all lives!!! I can only pray that God almighty will bless us with another angel like Professor Ward Weldon.
I had the pleasure of taking 3 courses with Dr. Weldon as a graduate student. I was always amazed at his wealth of knowledge on various topics outside of his field, he was a true intellectual. He would always remember me because of my last name “Ward” and response with “There is the guy with the beautiful last name.” He was always kind and generous and loved teaching, it showed in every course I took with him. I would like to send my condolences to his family. He was a great man and will truly be missed.
I will miss those silly jokes at just the right moment, the celebration of worlds beyond American borders, and regular reminders not to take our-selves too seriously. A toast to you Ward! you really understood the ways in which stories teach.
My office is on the first floor, just down the hall from Ward’s. The first day that I moved into my office, there was a small little black mouse hiding behind some boxes. The mouse was teeny tiny, yet my office mate and I weren’t thrilled with the idea of catching it. We stood in the hallway for some-time, debating how to proceed. While we debated, Ward walked by and inquired what was going on. When we explained about the mouse, Ward didn’t hesitate. He took a brown paper bag in one hand and paper towel in another. He got down onto the floor and moved the boxes. Before we knew it, he had scooped up the little mouse with the paper towel and placed him in the bag. He turned to us, bag in hand, and smiled as to say “there you go” as he went to the door to release the mouse outside. In the weeks that followed, Ward stopped by several times to check in with us to see if we needed his mouse catching services. I’m going to miss his check ins!
Dr. Weldon was the only professor that really reached out to me and helped me during my masters program at UIC. I took two of his classes because I en-joyed the first one so much, I wanted to have him again. He was a great mentor and has helped me to realize my dream of pursuing a Ph.D in the future. I really truly miss Dr. Weldon, but I know he will always be a person who contributed to my success. He was a wonderful professor.
There are few people like Professor Weldon, one in a million. He would still ask us if we would take his class at 105 years old. Comical yet meaningful, humble yet wise; his person was always in tune with his students and showing ready leadership. He would always be in class the earliest and stood expec-tantly before the blackboard, observing us as we would enter and giving us kind comments—always with a radiant smile on his face. In his classes, he taught us many lovely lessons, including an open mind to world need, patience, and com-passion. He would ask us that if a tree fell in the forest would it make a sound, the same we may feel when others are in need far from us. It always felt as if the words he spoke were written in the air, they were this meaningful. Full of stories, he always let us know the uniqueness of our individuality and in connecting
ourselves with our work, or our work to-be and the people we would serve in the future. Professor Weldon, you will be missed, but you have left a legacy of uncounted narrations, acts of leadership, and good testimonies. Thank you for all the work you have done, truly you have shown us the work of a marine in the field and we will carry the things you’ve given us. Thank you.
Dr. Weldon was my first professor in the College of Education. From that time on, he knew my name and was always eager to take time for a chat or a joke. Five years later I began teaching Monday evenings as an adjunct at UIC. It just so happened that Dr. Weldon taught Monday evenings as well. We often rode the el together at the end of the evening. I’ll never forget his kind-ness, his caring for his students, and his joy for life. He impacted so many people in such wonderful ways. God bless his memory.
I would often visit Professor Weldon in his office before my classes and chat with him about a variety of topics. He always had time for me, which was much appreciated. Even though I only knew him for a few weeks, it felt like it was much longer. I had the honor of walking with him to our last class together. I am deeply saddened by his passing, and wish I had more time to spend with him. However, I am comforted knowing that he left this earth doing what he loved to do. He will be missed a great deal, and I will happily honor his memory by using his teachings in my own classroom.
one of the most important lessons Ward taught me was to find joy in the every day, especially on those most hectic days. He could so easily lift my spirits; he just knew the right things to say. He made me feel human by taking a keen interest in my work and having a good chuckle about my boxing in relation to his hand on combat techniques he learned while serving in the military. I am really going to miss our good humored and yet thought provoking conversations. I hope to pass on the gift of joy, just as Ward had done for me.
Dr. Weldon is and will always be my favorite professor. I owe him a million thank yous for teaching me in three different courses toward my MEd as well as the encouragement I needed to continue my job search. Because of him, I had the patience and perseverance to hold my dream job as a teacher today. What I miss the most and will always remember is his singing of “Auld Lang Syne” at the end of every semester.
I send my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Professor Weldon. He was an inspiration. I truly enjoyed the songs and stories he shared with us. He took me along on the journey with him every time he spoke.
I was a very fortunate student to be in Dr. Ward Weldon’s classes as I was pursuing my Master’s in Educational Administration at UIC, 1989-1991. Ward was So passionate about teaching his students, and about assisting us to see his perspectives and to learn from his vast life and professional ex-periences. (you know, sometimes a student - even a mature student like me - thinks they are worldly and wise and they have all the answers!) But Ward proved that we all had a lot to learn from someone who was so gentle, so effective, such an amazing teacher. He always made time to talk, to write a letter of recommendation, to fulfill any request I made of him as we kept in touch over the years. Every time I drive by the campus, I think of him warmly. His light will always shine there for me, as i sure it will shine for the decades of students who, like me, were among the luckiest students in the world, because “he was our teacher!” Warm regards to the Weldon family. May your memories of this wonderful man sustain you in your sorrow!
This time of the year is when I would talk to Ward about college basketball. Ward would often come in and ask me if it was March yet, throughout the year. once it was March, we would often discuss who we thought had the best college basketball team and various games that we had both seen during the week. Ward always entered the March Madness bracket pool and was always the first one to pay. I always appreciated that! Ward was a great storyteller and many times made a point of saying “hi” to me whether I was in the hall or even outside on my way home. I only wish I would have been able to say goodbye.
“Hello, Karen,” he said. I didn’t think he knew my name but he made me feel important and relevant to the College of Education. Chance meet-ings in the hallways always turned into a “Hello, Karen” and we would often chat for a few minutes, usually with him leaving me with some rather profound thought. over the years I became aware of his wisdom but what impressed me most about Ward was his style. He was clever, understated, humorous, kind, and oh so wise – a true role model for us in academia who were born a few decades after him. Always a teacher, Ward taught us so much. He is missed.
It is very rare in this day and age that we find warriors in the form of Ward Weldon. When I write “warrior” I specifically mean it as a description of someone who has love in the face of hate. Despite the obstacles, Ward would always approach teaching with positive energy and a smile. In a day where education has been highly compromised at the behest of a few uninformed wealthy individuals, Ward reminded us of our work and how we must ALWAyS greet it with joy. I am forever thankful for his lessons. His spirit will live in me beyond my time on this earth. Blessings to you for sharing him with us.
Dean Chou, Ward, and I traveled to South Korea to investigate a possible joint graduate program. our hosts took us on a tour, and one place was an ancient manuscript temple to be entered and left by a long set of steep stairs. As we descended, Ward stepped ahead of her so she could put her hands on his shoulders for balance and support. one day I was going to lunch with Ward and casually mentioned I liked his tie. Within 15 seconds his knot was untied, and he graciously offered it to me. Great Colleague. Great Man.
I shared my growth and personal trials of wanting to teach, but felt I needed to make a wider impact through research as I shared my consider-ation for pursuing a PhD. To my surprise (a reflection of my own personal confidence issues at the time), he encouraged me to go for it, agreed to write me a letter of recommendation, and asked me to share my interests for research. He shared with me that the secret to successfully earning a PhD is really nothing more than dedication and hard work...another tribute to his humble nature. In my heart, I believe he sensed my hesitance and used this as another opportunity to empower another student to “go for it.” And so I did.
The passing of Dr. Weldon is a great loss for UIC. I learned so much from him in just one short semester, and I cannot help but feel deep sorrow. Perhaps our greatest tribute to him would be to pass on what we learned from him....for Auld Lang Syne.
When I enrolled into the Ed.D program for Urban School Leadership and was high school principal, Dr. Weldon was my teacher/adviser for a school leadership project that I was developing. He would visit me at the high school campus and meet with me. Despite the business of the day and the hustle and bustle of everyone around us, Dr. Weldon had a sense of calm that was in a way soothing. In his calm and gentle manner provided leadership, di-rection, words of encouragement, at times, much needed advice. He was so well-versed in schools, school finance, politics, education reform, and policy that when I was challenged with a situation, he was able to capture the issues’ salient points and then make provide “words of wisdom” that reassured me of the work I was doing. I will miss Dr. Weldon for his gentle and wise nature. His passing is a loss to the entire educational community at UIC and in Chicago both for those of us who will miss knocking on his door and for the new educators coming into UIC that will never meet him. I know that I will try to carry on his calm and serene leadership style when I work with my colleagues, parents, and students. I think that we can all honor Dr. Weldon’s memory and carry out his legacy in this manner.
Dr. Weldon was extremely patient, always approachable, humble, complimentary, encouraging, a great sense of humor, and academically brilliant. He amazed his students with his anecdotes about his life, which he shared not to brag, but to laugh at himself. He left his students in awe of his life experiences...He was always fascinating. I asked him how his wife felt about all of his traveling. He told me and the class that she was glad when he wasn’t home getting in her way. He then did that hearty laugh. I learned a great deal from him as I took master’s and doctoral degree courses from him over the years. I specifically remember learning how to manage a school budget as we prepared to become principals. Until I took that course, it was the one area of becoming a principal about which I was concerned. After the course, I was very comfort-able with school budgets. He made it seem so easy. When I became a principal, it was a piece of cake. I remember my second course with him as a graduate student. I became very argumentative and aggressive with another student in the class. He got my atten-tion, smiled (as he always did), and quietly said to me, “Would you like to argue with me, Alice?” I smiled at him and said, “No, I’m not crazy.” We both laughed and I kept quiet and behaved appropriately. We were having a cultural discussion in one of the doctoral seminars. There were two professors and Ward was in the room. I disagreed with one of the professors about a historical point. After the debate, Ward said, with his smile in a calm voice...”you know, I just have to say that Alice is correct.” I was shocked. It became very quiet in the room because everyone knows that Dr.
Weldon knows of which he speaks. He was the ultimate professor.-Alice Phillips
I had the good fortune to experience Ward Weldon as a professor four times at different points along the timeline of his career at UIC: once as an undergraduate in 1975 working toward K-12 certification and three times in graduate level cours-es (in 1977 while completing my first Master’s Degree, and again in 1997-98 while working on a Master’s Degree in Curriculum Studies). The first time I walked into his classroom, I thought “oh boy, getting through this course is going to be a challenge!” This reaction was immature on my part. I was in my early 20s and brimming with notions about the many ways our educational system had failed us and wanting to get ideas from “someone progressive.” Ward had that kindly, professorial look which I read as old-fashioned and stodgy. I was never more wrong in my assessment of another human being. In all of his courses which I was lucky enough to be able to attend, he unfailingly showed us how the mind of a truly progressive person works. He could analyze and interpret different structures and approaches to curriculum, but without stating any real favoritism so that his students could make up their own minds. When I presented as a possible project something which I thought he might consider to be “off the wall,” he encouraged
me to take the ball and run with it. I thank Ward Weldon for sharing his open mind with us and for showing us the way to open our minds as well!
Dr. Weldon made a large impact on my career as an educator. His attention to students and love for content was evident. It will forever be imprinted in my mind as a standard of excellence. I am lucky to have heard his intelligent words. I will forever remember the wisest man to have taught me.
Dr. Ward Weldon was one of my favorite professors. Why, you may ask? First, because no matter how long it was between visits – sometimes a few days, or months or years, he remembered my name! I often marvelled how, in the world, did he do it? At first, I thought, perhaps, that I was such a wonderous, delightful, and special student that how could he not remember me? (I really didn’t think that!) What I really believed is that Dr. Ward Wel-don truly valued all of his students and remembered many of their names! He was just that kind of professor. And, his body of knowledge was so rich; he could talk decisively and authoritatively on almost any subject. I had him for two classes in Educational Leadership; and it was never a dull moment. one day, after his storytelling and lecturing, he actually started singing to us and the class roared with hysterical amazement and sheer delight! And, he could carry a hearty musical tone; he could really sing! Thinking about him three words come mind: witty, true scholar, and storyteller. I really think excellent teachers are good storytellers. They talk about slices of their lives that connect to some aspect(s) of the lesson to breathe life such concepts as MacGregor’s Theory X and y. That’s what Ward did! I remember once I stopped by his office and during the conversation I commented on his beauti-ful white hair and beard – that it reminded me of my younger years believing in the myth “Santa Claus.” He began to dig through his piles of papers on his desk, and he pulled out a picture of him as Santa. I couldn’t believe it! As the story goes, someone asked him to pose as “Santa.” I thought that he made a perfect “Santa.” It was so characteristic of his skills, diversity and aplomb. There is more beautiful storytelling about Ward Weldon, the Renaissance Man of UIC, that I could tell; but I’ll end here. His spirited humor, wit, and storytelling will live on through me with my interactions with my college and/or university students. I conclude with a quotation by John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Dr. Ward Weldon was one of my educational leaders and heroes. I will truly miss him and keep his memory alive though my deep affection and passion for educating others.
I remember him fondly as I studied for my doctorate. He was a kind, knowledgeable, giving and caring professor. His legacy of telling stories dur-ing class will long be remembered.
I had the pleasure of being one of Dr. Weldon’s students in the first year of my Ph.D. program but did not study with him after that. My main recol-lections of his are two-fold: First, I do not think I have ever experienced a professor who enjoyed teaching and interacting with students as much as he did. He absolutely radiated joy. Secondly, although I only had one class with him six years ago, every time he saw me on campus or waiting for the L, he would greet me and chat. I found this very supportive and welcome during my pursuit of a degree, which can often be isolating and competitive.
-Kendall Taylor Professor Weldon took pride in being a humanistic educator, guiding his students to the ends that they sought instead of a prescribed outcome of what they ought to care about. He loved to teach through anecdotes, but they weren’t aphorisms. They were personal anecdotes of his bottomless experiences around the world as an economist and educator. For whatever reason, he called on me in class a lot…He pushed me to think through some difficult financial questions and never sounded totally convinced that I’d solved them, but that was the attitude he conveyed about public educa-tion, too — we have extremely difficult questions and we haven’t solved them yet. So, he was consistent. I thought it was amazing that he’s been teaching as long as he has. He was in it for the long run. Professor Weldon cared a lot about his students’ success because he saw it as a lever for the
next generation’s success. one part of education he always talked about was the importance of pre-school and Head Start. There weren’t a lot of early childhood educators in my classes with him; I think he was trying to spread the good word about how to make a positive impact on society.
He was a wonderful professor with such a passion that want evident in every word he spoke. I keep thinking of something he said about hu-man capital. He said something along the lines of how risky it is to invest in education and human capital because once it is gone, you’ve lost it. It is a sad thought to think of how much we lost with him. I will try to not think of his passing as such a loss because he was able to transfer his experiences through the telling of lively stories and songs.
He was one of the nicest people you cold ever meet. He was instrumental to me when I was a grad student — he was my adviser and he helped me out a lot. I was crazy about getting straight A’s in graduate school and he would say: “Si, se puedes.” [yes, you can do it.} In Spanish! And I did get A’s. I can still hear his voice.
Dr. Weldon was a patient and powerful teacher. He constantly tried to connect with all his students on a personal level and readily shared his life experiences along with his love for his FAMILy in class. He was one of my favorite professors during my graduate work at UIC and I will forever remem-ber his big smile and kind heart.
I still remember walking into class and remembering how dedicated Dr. Weldon was to education. He would come into class and always teach by sharing his experiences. He was a very knowledgeable understanding, and flexible professor who wanted to make sure that each of our assignments and tasks were worthy of our time. He never wanted us to waste time doing something that wasn’t beneficial to our learning. I feel honored that I had him as a professor and would look forward to his class every week. His sense of humor made time pass quickly in class. My thoughts are with his family and the College of Education at UIC.
Dr. Weldon was the first professor I had for graduate school at UIC; this was 2001. I was fresh out of my undergraduate experience and in my first year, first semester, teaching full time. one of the assigned texts was Dewey’s Experience in Education. He assigned chunks of it for us to read because he wanted us to closely read it to really understand it. our class did not accomplish his goal. We arrived in class for weeks and Dr. Weldon would ask us questions to elicit a conversation, we only asked questions so we could understand what Dewey was saying. once Dr. Weldon helped us to understand, many of us then argued with him about how Dewey was completely impractical. We argued that theory was not going to help us to be better teachers, we needed pragmatic application. He stayed patient and continued to explain, question, and listen. He encouraged the conversation and really worked to help us to see the importance of Dewey’s message. I only took that one class at UIC before transferring to get a “practical” degree. However, nine years after I left that class I was thanking Dr. Weldon at the 2010 UIC commencement ceremony where I had been awarded a Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies. That class with Dr. Weldon in conjunction with “that practical degree” made me realize how much more there is to education. Dewey was at the center of my philosophical and theoretical framework for my argument against school standardization as part of the recent “school reform” movement. Thank you Dr. Weldon for your insight, guidance, and years of enlightenment you brought to thousands of students.
I have fond memories of standing on the Blue Line platform at Halsted with Dr. Weldon waiting for the train. Rain, shine or any other manner of weather we experienced on that God-forsaken traffic island, he always wore a beaming smile. It was clear, just by looking at the man, that he made the world a better place for having lived among us.
Dr. Ward Weldon has left me with fond memories. When I decided to go back to school to earn my Masters of Education degree while working full time at UIC, Dr. Weldon’s Philosophy of Education & Urban School Policy was the first class I took. His seasoned style of teaching, his warm, gentle nature and his unabashed and endearing way of sharing his life experiences, was just what I needed to break through my fears of thinking I was too old to go back to school. I particularly enjoyed his spontaneous singing at the most inappropriate times. I am honored to have been a part of Weldon’s World and I am truly grateful that he was a part of mine.
Thank you so much for letting the alumni know. I worked very closely with Ward for several years as a research assistant. He was a dear man. I will miss him very much.
-Leslie Herzog15 16
I had the honor and pleasure of knowing Dr. Weldon since 1990. He was my professor, and my friend. He was encouraging and inspiring, and always had a kind word regarding everyone and everything. He loved his work and his colleagues, and loved traveling and seeing other countries and helping people. He will be missed. May his memory be eternal.
I graduated in 2006 and had the honor of being Dr. Weldon’s student. There are two things I remember the most about Dr. Weldon. The first being that he taught us through stories and experiences. He didn’t lecture us or made us sit through readings, he used his life experiences to help us under-stand how to be morally and ethically responsible educators. The second thing I remember the most about Dr. Weldon was how he totally put his guard down and had fun with us. He was always a gentleman and so professional, but on one occasion, he lost it and was just one of the guys. one day in class, a peer of mine was presenting and kept mispronouncing the name Socrates. Dr. Weldon politely corrected her, but after the third time she said it wrong, he little a giggle slip which of course prompted the entire class to laugh. I guess you just had to be there to understand how funny it was.
During my final defense of my dissertation I walked in with so many emotions as I neared the completion of earning this noble degree. As I started my talk my father walked into the room 15 minutes after we started as nervous as me. He walked around shaking all the members of my committee’s hands. I was mortified that he came in late and interrupted my thought process. The final person my father introduced himself to was Dr. Weldon. Dr. Weldon suddenly asked my father if he served in the army and my father responded yes, I am a veteran. He said I can tell just by your mannerism and handshake. He then shared a story about his time in the service that eased the tension that occurred in the room. I knew immediately that I was amongst friends and that this was Dr. Weldon’s way of getting me back at ease to complete my defense. I will never forget this. It was an honor knowing him and I am proud to say that he was part of my educational story.
I am most saddened to hear of Dr. Weldon’s passing. He was a member of my dissertation committee, and I was most proud to be in his company.-Sandra Campbell
Professor Weldon was an amazing and very caring professor. He was humble and was always willing to help out his students. I will always remem-ber him singing in class and twirling his “R’s” in Spanish. He was truly an inspiration with his many stories of world travel. His traveling experiences made him a very wise man and an open minded individual. I hope that one day I too can travel the world and become as wise as he was.
Professor Ward Weldon, a noble and dignified man, a Professor of higher learning in the greatest sense, an inspiration. His ways and knowledge kindly touched the hearts of so many, myself most certainly included.
I was Dr. Weldon’s student. I learned from him during each of our Principalship classes. He always spoke a phrase in another language to keep us on our feet. Semper Fidelis was one of his favorites John Phillip Sousa marches. I emailed it to him when I was his student and he enjoyed it.
I am so saddened by the passing of Dr Weldon. As an alumna of UIC (class of 2005), I have a clear picture of him walking up and down the hall-ways always with a smile and tons of books under his arm. I feel privileged that I have known Dr Weldon even only in passing!
Dr. Weldon was my professor for several educa-tion courses during my graduate studies at UIC. Although each course was different, Dr. Weldon’s method was always consistent—he instilled in us the importance of being great leaders, teachers, and role models and dem-onstrated how to do so on a daily basis. His passion was contagious and after every class I felt encouraged and motivated to be a great coach. our class was comprised of educators in a variety of fields: teachers, administra-tors, principles, textbook sales people, and even college athletic coaches like myself. Dr. Weldon found a way to connect with each of us and helped us to hone our unique skills. He genuinely cared about our work, sup-ported our ideas, and shared our enthusiasm for our respective careers. My favorite memory from Dr. Weldon occurred during my last week of graduate school in December, 2008. Commencement was not until May and
the completion of graduate school felt a bit anti-climactic for me. our class concluded with final presentations and Dr. Weldon ended class by wishing us all well in our future endeavors. He spoke to us about our important roles in shaping the youth of America, reminded us that our work mattered immensely, and that he was proud of us. He shared with us the Scottish tradition of singing Auld Lang Syne, and its meaning of “times gone by.” Then he sang Auld Lang Syne for the class—a capella! I was shocked and impressed—I had no idea he could sing! Moreover, I was touched that he cared so much and that he validated our rite of passage in graduate school—it was the climactic moment I had hoped for. As I have frequently remembered Dr. Weldon and his classes, my memory always flashes to Auld Lang Syne, and to the warmth he exuded. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from Dr. Weldon and I know that each of us who have been impacted by him will continue to make him proud in our respective “classrooms” around the world. Many thanks to Dr. Weldon, and may he rest in peace.
-Alison Aguilar Haehnel
Professor Weldon was a very distinctive educator. I had him as a first year Master’s student at UIC and he cut an imposing figure at the front of the class. He was tall and evoked images of Walt Whitman (another double W). He knew John Dewey inside and out and spoke as if they had been close, personal friends. He also took roll every class making sure to call out each student one by one as a distinct individual. During our semester together we had a student from China in our class and he would talk fondly about his time spent abroad. Now, as a university professor abroad in Seoul, South Korea, I can only dream to make the same impression Professor Weldon made on me. He will be missed.
I never had Dr. Weldon for class, but he knew me and I knew him. He was always jolly! He warmed up the hallways of College of Education with his bright and welcoming smile. He would routinely pop his head in during meetings with doctoral advisor, Dr. Tozer, and it was always a joy to be greeted by him. He was sincere and genuine. His interactions with me in passing made my experience in the doctoral program at UIC that much more positive. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy of care and commitment will live on through me in my future work with students.
What I am feeling now is hard to put into words. Dr. Weldon was a kind, gentle, caring, thoughtful man. What I am going to miss most is Dr. Weldon’s smiling face popping into my office and saying, “Good morning, Jennifer. How is the brain center of the college?” Dr. Weldon had a passion for teaching and he did it well. you learned through his vast knowledge and experiences without realizing that you were learning. Dr. Weldon was an icon of the College of Education and I am truly blessed and honored to have had the opportunity to know him and to have worked with him throughout the years. one can only aspire to become what Dr. Weldon accomplished, an amazing soul.
on the second floor of an old inhospitable building, behind several mislabeled classrooms and numerous unnecessary turns, stood a welcom-ing soul. “Come on in young man, you are welcomed here,” said the well-dressed gentleman, clad in the obligatory sweater vest and khakis, almost traditional professorate wear. From that moment on, this young aspiring scholar from the south side of Chicago felt welcomed. Dr. Weldon has made a successful career of addressing school funding issues in international and national districts, but most of all he made the academy accessible. In a place where terms like rigor, standards, and assessment are common parts of normal discourse, Dr. Weldon engaged in compassion, understanding, and love. As we celebrate his life I find solace in knowing that in heaven God is saying, “Come on in young man, you are welcomed here.” Job well done Profes-sor Weldon, job well done.
I have known Ward for 33 years, and in that time spoke with him hundreds if not thousands of times... for the past several years our offices have been right across the hall from each other... in all that time I have never known him to say an unkind or a negative word about anyone or anything. He always had time for every colleague and student he came in contact with. Even as he was preparing for “retirement” in the past several weeks, he has been working hard to master a new software application that would allow him to dictate what he wanted to write.
Dr. Weldon...always smiling, always with a kind word. It has been a pleasure to be Ward’s office neighborhood all these years. He brightened our day with his cheery good morning and ever interesting stories. He will be missed by so many colleagues and students who had the opportunity to know him.
Dr. Weldon was one of the most intelligent professors I have ever known. When I first took his class, I was amazed at the plethora of knowl-edge and experiences he would recall throughout his career and share with us. Most students would look at Weldon and say, “he’s just old.” Very few of us would look at him and celebrate his will to live to educate others. on February 6, 2013 at 3pm, I saw Weldon for the last time. I sat with him in his office and helped him prepare his lunch. We laughed about how much mayonnaise he wanted on his sandwich. I told him, “just because your wife isn’t here doesn’t mean you can eat crazy!” He laughed and said, “okay Kristy, I guess that is enough mayonnaise.” Because Weldon loved teaching so much, he would often forget about what was best for him, i.e., his doctor telling him to sit down during lectures, Weldon would stand for three hours straight at 77 years old! It was clear that his life was instruction and his students. When I was going through the roughest time in my life, Weldon was there to offer me guidance and support. He was a great mentor. I didn’t know that when I saw him, that it would be my last time. My heart is full knowing I was one of the last to say, “See you soon, Weldon, be careful going home.” And he would reply, “okay, Kristy,” with a hearty laugh, “take care.”
Auld Lang SyneAs news of Dr. Weldon’s passing spread, students, colleagues, staff and friends began to leave notes, cards and pictures in a make-shift memorial on his office door – mementos so that the beloved professor will never be forgotten and will always be brought to mind.