Service for David J. Weber takes place Oct. 4

(Originally published Sept. 14, 2010)

David WeberA memorial service celebrating the life of David J. Weber will be held at 1 p.m. Oct. 4 in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center. Those wishing to attend should RSVP through the website of SMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies.

Weber was the founding director of the Clements Center and held the Robert and Nancy Dedman Chair in History in Dedman College. He died Aug. 20. The family has asked that any memorial contributions be directed to the Clements Center through the SMU Office of Development or the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

> Read a tribute from History Professor Ben Johnson at the Clements Center site
> More about David J. Weber from SMU News
> Weber’s obituary in The New York Times
> Visit the Clements Center online

Clements Center founding director David Weber dies

David J. WeberSMU Professor David J. Weber, one of the nation’s leading scholars on the U.S. Southwest and Mexico, died Aug. 20 of multiple myeloma. He was 69.

Weber joined SMU’s Department of History in 1976 and chaired the Department from 1979 to 1986. He also held the Robert and Nancy Dedman Chair in History in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Weber was the founding director of the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at SMU, part of the Clements Department of History, both endowed by former Governor William P. Clements and his wife, Rita. The Clements Center for Southwest Studies is widely regarded as the leading institute for the study of the American West and the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands.

In leading the History Department’s new Ph.D. program and the Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Weber was a mentor to numerous graduate students as well as post-doctoral fellows awarded stipends to conduct research and complete their manuscripts for publication through the Center. Hundreds of other scholars throughout the world followed Weber’s work and learned from his publications. He retired from teaching in spring 2010 but continued his research and writing.

As an internationally renowned scholar, David Weber “brought honor to SMU through his achievements,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “But he was also a dedicated teacher inspiring all levels of students, from undergraduates to post-doctoral fellows. He helped to shape the entire discipline of Southwest studies, leaving us with a greater understanding of our region’s history and cultures.”

“David Weber was not only one of the greatest historians of his generation, but also one of the most beloved,” said James K. Hopkins, long-time colleague and former chair of the Clements Department of History. “Colleagues, students, readers and friends around the world will mourn our loss today and for a long time to come. His life enlarged us all.”

Two governments gave Weber the highest honor they can bestow on foreigners: in 2002 King Juan Carlos of Spain named him to membership in the Real Orden de Isabel la Católica, the Spanish equivalent of a knighthood, and in 2005 Mexico named him to the Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca (the Order of the Aztec Eagle). He was one of a few U.S. historians elected to the Mexican Academy of History.

Honors in the United States included his 2007 induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“David Weber was a gentle man and a brilliant scholar. He was a visionary whose academic interest in the history of the Southwest was equaled only by his love for the region,” said George Bayoud of Dallas, long-time and immediate past chair of the Advisory Panel for the Clements Center for Southwest Studies. “David built the Center into a thriving forum for research, dialogue and scholarship. Numerous books by emerging scholars have resulted from the time they spent under David’s guidance. Those of us who worked with David on the Advisory Panel were honored and fortunate to spend time with him and learn from him.”

Plans for a service in Dallas are pending.

Memorials may be made to the Clements Center for Southwest Studies, SMU Office of Development, P.O. Box 281, Dallas, TX 75275, or the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

> Read more from SMU News

Weber to give last public lecture as SMU professor April 27

'Fiasco' book coverDavid Weber will give his last public lecture as an SMU professor April 27. Weber, the Robert and Nancy Dedman Professor of History and director of the Clements Center for Southwest Studies in SMU’s Dedman College, retires in May 2010 and will take a sabbatical year after that.

Weber and co-editor Jane Lenz Elder, reference librarian in SMU’s Bridwell Library, will talk about their latest collaboration, Fiasco: George Clinton Gardner’s Correspondence from the U.S.-Mexico Boundary Survey, 1849-1854, recently published by SMU Press.

Gardner’s previously unpublished personal letters, written mostly to family, offer a fresh vantage point on the survey party’s logistical and financial problems, the quarrels among its civilian and military members, the personal and political rivalries of leading figures, and the personal foibles and inadequate funding that turned the work of the U.S. survey team into a catastrophic failure.

The event begins with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by a 6:30 p.m. lecture and book signing, in DeGolyer Library.

The event is free and open to the public; registration is required. Find more information and register online, or contact the Clements Center, 214-768-3684.

Calendar Highlights: Oct. 10, 2008

Image from George Clinton Gardner letterBreak for fall: Fall Break 2008 is Oct. 13-14. No classes will be held; University offices will remain open.

Perkins Interdisciplinary Dialogue: The growth of the U.S. Latino Muslim community is the subject of “Latinos and Islam: A Conversation on a Dimension of Latino Religious Pluralism,” moderated by TCU’s Hjamil A. Martinez-Vazquez, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 14 in Umphrey Lee Center. Presented by The Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions in SMU’s Perkins School of Theology.

Clements Center Brown Bag Lecture: Robert H. and Nancy Dedman Professor of History and Clements Center Director David Weber will discuss “The Risky Business of Editing Historical Documents: Letters from the U.S.-Mexico Boundary Survey, 1849-1854” at noon Oct. 15 in the Texana Room, DeGolyer Library. Bring your lunch. (Right, an image from George Clinton Gardner’s personal letters courtesy of SMU’s DeGolyer Library.)

Gilbert Lecture Series: University of Nevada-Reno Professor Scott Casper, author of Constructing American Lives: Biography and Culture in Nineteenth-Century America and Sarah Johnson’s Mount Vernon: The Forgotten History of an American Shrine discusses “The Selling of the President – 19th-Century Style” Oct. 16 in DeGolyer Library. Reception at 6 p.m. in the Texana Room, lecture at 6:30 p.m. in the Stanley Marcus Reading Room.

Weber to be inducted into American Academy of Arts and Sciences Oct. 6

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences will induct David Weber, SMU’s Robert and Nancy Dedman Professor of History and director of the University’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies, as a 2007 Fellow Oct. 6 at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Weber, who specializes in the American Southwest and Mexico, is author or editor of more than 22 books and 60 scholarly articles. He has been a member of the History Department faculty in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences for more than 30 years.

Fellows are elected by Academy members based on the quality of their work and contributions to their field throughout their career. This year’s class includes former Vice President Al Gore, actor and film producer Robert Redford, former Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, New York Mayor and businessman Michael Bloomberg, Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt, New York Times investigative correspondent James Risen, filmmaker Spike Lee, economists Gregory Mankiw and Murray Weidenbaum, astronomer Donald Brownlee, robotics pioneer Rodney Brooks, Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, supercomputer expert David Shaw, and pianist Emanuel Ax. Visit the Academy’s Web site for a complete list.