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CLC mourns passing of former college president Dr. Jerry Weber

Dr. Weber was CLC’s president from 2009 to 2017. He passed away on Nov. 6 at the age of 70. 

CLC will remember him most for his commitment to conservation and student success.

Derrick Harden, who worked as Dr. Weber’s chief of staff from 2012, said, “I really saw him as a very genuine person who was committed to his beliefs and doing things in a very righteous way, and he was unwavering in his commitment and passion.”

Derrick Harden

Derrick Harden

You can see Weber’s sustainability work on campus in the LEED Platinum science building and the living lab trail, where guests can tour the college’s on-campus sustainability efforts.

He also worked to win a $19 million dollar grant for 17 Illinois community colleges in the Illinois Green Economy Network, of which CLC got $5.9 million, which was used to make the college more environmentally friendly and to expand the college’s career training programs.

With everything Dr. Weber brought to the college, including the sustainability initiatives, his goal was always student success. “He thought about sustainability in ways the college peruses student success initiatives, whether that was through academic programs, building support around internships related to sustainability, or other initiatives,” Stomper said.

Former coworkers also remember Dr. Weber’s leadership. “He was the right president [for CLC] at the right time,” said Jeffrey Stomper, the longtime dean of the business and social sciences division. “He offered me many opportunities to spread my wings and stretch myself professionally.”

Jeffrey Stomper

Jeffrey Stomper

Both Stomper and Harden remembered Dr. Weber’s tendency to come up with bold ideas. “Jerry was an extremely visionary leader,” Harden said. “He had a lot of big ideas that really pushed and challenged people to think beyond the way that they currently thought.”

“He was an idea guy. He just generated really great ideas … and he got you to generate ideas,” Stomper said. Even though many of his ideas were seen as too lofty, Stomper said, “It was okay to fail. He didn’t punish failure. And that really freed you up.”

Weber’s impact can also be seen today through CLC’s international studies programs. “We live in a global world. He wanted students to have that exposure before they left.” said Stomper. 

Dr. Lori Suddick, CLC’s current president, said in a statement, “Dr. Weber’s leadership in international education and sustainability left an important, lasting legacy at CLC. As a colleague of Jerry’s, I know that I, along with so many of you, appreciated his warm personality and his passion for connecting with students. He will be missed.”

Dr. Weber spent most of his career working for community colleges.

He began as a writing instructor at Harper College, and would eventually become president of Kankakee Community College before coming to CLC. 

In 2007, he was a founding member of the Illinois Green Economy Network, a partnership between all 39 Illinois community colleges to support education in sustainability.

In 2017, he left CLC to serve as president of Bellevue College in Washington until his retirement early this year.

He is survived by his wife and three kids.

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