Dennis Weber Endowed Scholarship
Why did you choose to create a scholarship at Saint Leo University?
Saint Leo afforded me the opportunity to be an Adjunct Professor in the business department for 21 years. Prior to that I had taught at Tidewater Community College. I truly enjoyed this role because of my ability to help people learn. During this time I was able to teach nine different classes to include the business capstone course for the students at the South Hampton Roads Education Center and our Chesapeake Office. Seeing the students grasp and understand the difficult concepts in these classes was my reward, not the monetary compensation I received. Establishing this scholarship was my way of giving back to the University for giving me a platform to help the students learn.
What would you want the recipients to know about the person for whom this scholarship is named?
Many years ago I was the first person in my family to attend college. My family could not afford to send me to college. Fortunately, I was able to obtain a NROTC scholarship to attend Penn State University and obtain my BS degree. Later I was able to use the GI Bill, existing at the time, to obtain both my MBA and MPA degrees. So I completely understand the importance for today’s students to be able to obtain financial support for their pursuit of higher education.
What is your favorite Saint Leo story, tradition, or what Saint Leo has meant to you?
The primary reason I wanted to teach for Saint Leo relates to a key part of the University’s Vision. That part being the desire to be “the leading Catholic teaching university of the 21st century”. Way too many of our higher learning institutions today are primarily focused on conducting research. As a result that becomes the focus of their professors, versus helping their students learn. My first physics class at Penn State was in an auditorium with 400 students and a professor who was only there because of the University research focus on nuclear reactors. He had no interest in helping us learn the basic concepts of physics. As a liberal arts university, Saint Leo embraces the mission of ensuring its students receive a well rounded education and are then able to become well informed citizens of our great country.
What do you hope recipients gain through this scholarship support?
My main hope is that students appreciate the support it provides them. Also, upon graduation and when able that they would consider making such support available to future students. Without the support I received for my education, I would never have been able to endow this scholarship.