INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
Long-time professor leaves $1 million estate to University
By : Susanne Thiel
Paul Weigand, a native of Austria who taught German at Triple Cities Col- lege and Harpur College for 32 years, left an estate valued at $1 million to Binghamton University to benefit students of German language or comparative literature studies.
“As one of the founding faculty members of our University, Paul Weigand dedicated himself to helping achieve our vision of academic excellence,” said President Lois B. DeFleur. “This gift is a testament to his passion for public higher education and the liberal arts. It will have a significant impact on the quality of our curriculum for years to come.”
Jean-Pierre Mileur, dean of Harpur College of Arts and Sciences, said the endowment would support undergraduate and graduate students majoring or minoring in German language or literature. In addition to tuition support, the endowment may fund study-abroad opportunities in Germany or German-speaking nations.
“This gift will energize our department in ways we could never have hoped for,” said Rosmarie Morewedge, associate professor and chair of the German, Russian and East Asian languages. “It’s a wonderful gift that will enhance international studies for all our students. Imagine all the lifelong cross-cultural experiences that have been built through such generosity.”
“Through his generosity, Professor Weigand has done much to ensure that German will be a permanent part of the intellectual landscape of Harpur College,” Mileur said.
Weigand was born on Christmas in 1910 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1933. He began teaching at Triple Cities in 1948, having previously held positions at New York University, Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin. Specializing in 18th and 19th century German literature, Weigand published numerous scholarly articles on and translations of German literature throughout his academic career and was an advisor to several student organizations. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College of the City of New York and his PhD from New York University. From 1957 to 1959, Weigand served as president of the Central New York chapter of the American Association of German Teachers. He also served as an interpreter for the State Department. Weigand lived alone in Endicott for most of his life. He retired from Binghamton University in 1980 and died in RiverMede Nursing Home earlier this year.
“Paul was a very private individual,” said former colleague Aldo Bernardo, distinguished service professor emeritus of Italian and comparative literature. “He was very serious about his teaching, and he taught his undergraduate courses as a kind of mission. He really believed in the value of the German language. “He simply did his job quietly and well,” Bernardo continued. “He was a good man and a humble man, and students really liked him. He was very dedicated to his work, and very frugal.”
“I always thought of Paul as a quiet, reserved person,” agreed Helen Ketcham, whose late husband, Rodney, chaired the foreign languages department at Triple Cities and hired Weigand as one of its first faculty members. “I was surprised by his gift and thought it was a lovely contribution to the University.”