It is with our deepest condolences the Watchdog recognizes the passing of Dr. Jerry Weber, who was president of Bellevue College from 2017 to March 2020. Dr. Weber passed at the age of 70 after was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He died at his home on Nov. 11, with his family by his side.
According to the American Cancer Society approximately 57,600 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2020, and approximately 47,500 people will die of it.
Weber had extensive experience in education, starting his teaching journey in Illinois and brought his leadership to Bellevue College. He held a doctorate in higher education administration and worked as an adjunct faculty at Harvard University for their Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership program. Before his role at Bellevue College, Dr. Weber was President of the College of Lake County and Kankakee Community College in Illinois, and was also elected to the Board of Directors of the American Association of Community Colleges.
Weber resigned in the winter of this year, after the defacement of the art mural called “Never Again is Now,” which was brought to the Bellevue College campus to commemorate Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 (The order responsible for the mass internment of Japanese Americans). Weber stated he did not deface the mural, but said, “I recognize that the event happened on my watch. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve the trustees, faculty, staff and especially the students of Bellevue College.”
Many colleagues wrote condolences about Weber, recognizing how he championed diversity, student opportunities, green jobs training and environmental sustainability across the colleges he worked at. During Weber’s appointment to Bellevue College, the Board of Trustees recognized his advocacy experience, and how his innovative leadership could improve the college community as it continued its transition to four-year programs.
In an email addressing the Bellevue College Student Body, Provost Kristen Jones wrote, “His commitment to the community college mission and dedication to serving the students, faculty, and staff with whom he worked were hallmarks of his leadership. We honor his service as our President and know, for many, this news will be met with great sorrow.”