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An open letter to the W&M community

Dear Friends,

Our family began to enroll at the College of William and Mary in 1992 and so far has spent a collective 19 student years there. (Todd Weaver’s wife) Emma's mother, Ellen Cloyed, has spent a career at the College as well. For us, William and Mary is not only the second oldest college in America, but also, we believe, the first great one. This is despite Donn having been born two miles from Harvard and our other daughter and spouse’s kids having gone to good colleges as well.

That Todd chose to complete the William and Mary Weaver parade for his generation was his and our good fortune. We owe all of you, and many more on your staffs and various organizations, so much. What transpired on your campus during the afternoon and evening of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 will forever live in our memories as being very special.  It also represents a fitting end to a very difficult year at almost exactly the first anniversary of Todd's sacrifice (Sept. 9, 2010).

As I said on Sunday, Todd loved William and Mary. Indeed, we are truly a William and Mary family who have been enveloped by your College and who promises many more Weaver family students in the generations ahead. “One Tribe, One Family” is now our way of life.

Thank you for making that so.

When Todd arrived at the College as a freshman transfer, President (Taylor) Reveley also had just arrived. We met at the transfer orientation and were so pleased that the new President promised to support the ROTC program and military veterans, which turned out to be Todd's third major, after Government and Sociology. That kind of leadership made all that transpired after Sept. 9, 2010 possible. His William and Mary experience also made Todd that much better prepared for life, leadership and service, the special pledge of William and Mary that transcends the academic experience. From the wreath laid by the ROTC at the Sunken Gardens two days after Todd was killed, to the three special events one year later to honor all the fallen including Todd, William and Mary has proven it is a special family and will reach out and support all its members.

While there is always danger in trying to list the specific support rendered over the entire year in so many forms, by so many people at the College, without leaving some out, let me try.

TO:      The Office of the President, which offered suggestions and lent support and the approvals needed to undertake all that was accomplished to cement Todd's legacy during that fast-paced year.

The Student Athletic Advisory Council (SAAC), whose "One Tribe, One Family" program raised not only huge amounts of money but, just as significantly, spread Todd's legacy and helped unite the Tribe in so many ways. With the (Todd Weaver Memorial) Award now complete, we ask the SAAC to find other deserving causes for new funds and so appreciate alumni efforts to present "One Tribe, One Family" bands, a note card about Todd and T-shirts to the newest members of the William and Mary Family, new transfers and the Class of 2015.

The William and Mary Veterans Group, which worked with (Todd’s sister) Adrianna to plant Todd's Tree and plaque as wonderful and enduring symbols of his sacrifice.

The football and baseball programs, which held ceremonies to honor Todd and even somehow planned in advance to have the 101st Airborne division parachute into the stadium on one of those days.

The ROTC program, which refurbished a flagpole and marker for Todd and made sure the special plaque will always have a home. They also ran a "Ruck March" from which I am still recovering.  

The Gift and Development Office, which laid out what might be done, gave us some good ideas and proceeded to commit hundreds of hours to receive and reply to the more than 400 donors who gave $40 or more to the Award and the several thousand others who bought bands or just chipped in as they reinforced Todd's legacy by making the Award possible. That the effort more than reached its goal by 9/11/2011 was truly a team effort by our family and many connected to the College. 

The Government Department and the Gift and Endowment officials, which worked with us to envision an appropriate legacy with the "1LT Todd Weaver Memorial Award for Study Abroad." We are pleased that separate family funding is already on hand to present the first Award during Homecoming weekend on Oct. 22, 2011, with the endowment allowing its first presentation next spring. We are also pleased the International Relations Department will be involved and offer up candidates for the Award as well.

The Muscarelle, for its wonderful support in finding the best place for hanging Jeanne's "Losing Todd: A Mother's Journey" oil paintings show. We are so pleased the paintings will hang in one of the busiest areas of campus through Homecoming weekend.

The Office and Staff of the Vice President for Student Affairs, which put together such a moving 9/11 commemoration program and made sure Todd's legacy was a part of those events.

The University Relations Office, which kept the media advised of events which in turn not only spread Todd's story to so many, but helped keep the focus on the sacrifices of all our troops 10 years into the responses to 9/11/01.

To the Government Department and President's Office for arranging some speaking opportunities to help our family share our experience and enhance Todd's legacy.

And . . .

To the hundreds of others who attended, set up or were otherwise involved and touched by the special ways William and Mary and our entire family became so closely connected,  


Jeanne and Donn Weaver and the Weaver Family

P.S. -- The above is by no means good-bye as you are stuck with us, like it are not. With eight grandchildren and one more on the way, chances are Weaver parents will again be paying tuition to the College of William and Mary in the not too distant future. We will often roam your beautiful campus and always send someone to be there for the Awards to come. Please stay in touch with us in the interim.
In honor of our son, Todd W. Weaver

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson