Retired Eastern administrator gives back

Carole Hodorowicz, Staff Reporter

Five students will receive a $1,000 scholarship in the name of William Weber, who worked at Eastern as a faculty member and administrator for 26 years. 

From 1988 to 2014, Weber played many roles on Eastern’s campus. In the beginning of his days as a Panther, Weber worked in the economics department, running the office for economics education and serving as the treasurer and vice president for Eastern’s chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois (UPI). After 10 years of being a faculty member, Weber moved onto administration and held several positions, including: Associate Dean of the College of Sciences, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Director of Summer Sessions, University Budget Director and Vice President for Business Affairs. 

As a college student, Weber never studied abroad.

“I didn’t take advantage of any study abroad opportunities when I was in college. I was a mathematics and computer sciences major,” Weber said. “Why did I need to go any place to scribble in a notebook? Math is math.”

When he started out as a faculty member in the economics department, Weber and a colleague from Bradley University became involved with the International Trade and Finance Association, a new professional organization focused on international economics.

Weber traveled for the first time in 1990 to Marcé, France for the organization’s first annual meeting to present research. He ran into the classic problems every first-time traveler does: hopping on the wrong train and ordering something on the menu at a restaurant he thought would be one thing but ended up being something else entirely. 

“All those little things that are challenging make you push yourself and stretch yourself,” said Weber. 

Since the travel bug has bit him, Weber has traveled to over 50 countries in three different continents both professionally and personally.

“I never dreamed I would have done so much international travel,” Weber said. “But looking back, I am glad I have.”

Of all these places, Weber said Prague is one of his favorite cities in the world and is a place that has great memories for him. The “welcoming and walkable” city is where Weber ran into Hillary Clinton, who was the first lady at the time, while attending a conference. It is also a place where he was able to gain a perspective of some place much older than the United States.

“Travel gets one out of one’s comfort zone. That’s often a valuable experience,” Weber said. “It is a strong reminder that Charleston is not the world and that your perspective is not the only perspective out there.”

Fifteen years ago, Weber set up an endowment for study abroad support. This year, he said he wanted to offer more money to students in order to make studying abroad more accessible and affordable.

Weber spent the last several months working with Emily Tooy, the Study Abroad Coordinator, Ryan Hendrickson, the Dean of the Graduate School, and Michael Murray, Dean of Development, to set up the scholarships.

“Living abroad exposes you to experiences that you would normally never have back home,” Tooy said. During her time in college, Tooy studied twice in France in the cities of Lyon and Pau as well as Quebec, Canada.

Eastern has a partnership with over 30 different foreign universities in 50 different countries. Tooy said the most popular locations have been the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

Each fall and spring semester, the Office of Study Abroad sends between 10 and 20 students to these destinations. Over the summer, between 50 and 100 students study abroad. 

“I want students who think they can’t afford the experience to have a shot,” said Weber. 

Giving back is a long-term interest for Weber.

He also explores this interest in another field: comic book coloring.

After retiring in 2014, Weber started taking comic coloring classes online. Today, he is a freelance comic book coloring assistant and has completed over 1,000 pages for a variety of artists.

“It’s not a way to make a fortune, but I get great enjoyment out of it,” Weber said. “You never know what might come in the door.”

In 2018, Weber donated his time to complete two projects. The first one was a book called “Where We Live,” an anthology for supporting survivors of the Las Vegas shooting. The second project was a series that fundraised money for Puerto Rico after Hurrican Maria.

The deadline to apply for the William V. Weber Study Abroad Scholarship for the summer study abroad program is Feb. 1. Students can apply for the scholarship online at

Carole Hodorowicz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].