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Lucius Stacy Weaver (1957-1973)

Lucius Stacy Weaver was elected the first president of Methodist University (then Methodist College) in June 1957. At the time of his election, he was serving as superintendent of the Durham (NC) city school system.

Dr. Weaver is regarded as one of Methodist's "founding fathers," along with Terry Sanford, first chairman of the Board of Trustees; the Reverend Paul Neff Garber, bishop of the North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Church; and Franklin S. Clark, Jr., president of the Fayetteville College Foundation. During his first three years as president, Dr. Weaver worked from an office in downtown Fayetteville.

A native of Lenoir, NC, Stacy Weaver was one of five children of Dr. Charles C. and Florence Stacy Weaver. His father was a Methodist minister who served as president of Davenport College (a precursor of Brevard College) and Emory and Henry College. Stacey Weaver held an A.B. degree from Duke University, an M.A. from Columbia University, and honorary doctorates from High Point College, Duke University, and Methodist College (now University).

Stacy Weaver became a leader in public education in his native state, serving as a school principal in Union County and Jonesville; a professor of Latin and Greek, a coach, and president at Rutherford College; president of Mountain Park Junior College; and superintendent of the Statesville and Durham city schools. He was a member of Who's Who in American Education, Who's Who in the South, and Who's Who in Methodism. Three Tar Heel governors appointed him to state commissions on public school law, public school finance, and public television.

Upon accepting the presidency of Methodist College, Dr. Weaver pledged the school would be "Christian in concept and dedicated to academic excellence." When Dr. Weaver arrived, Dr. Weaver raised the funds needed to build Methodist, oversaw construction of the campus, and recruited the original staff, faculty, and student body. Methodist opened in the fall of 1960 with 128 students; enrollment peaked during Weaver's tenure at 1,100 students in 1967.

In 1964, the Weaver family established the Lucius Stacy Weaver Award, which is given each spring to the spring graduate voted by the faculty as the student who best exemplifies academic excellence, spiritual development, leadership, and service. In 1965, the trustees named the first women's residence hall Weaver Hall in honor of Dr. Weaver.

When Dr. Weaver retired in 1973, he delivered a commencement address entitled "This I Believe" to spring graduates. In his address, he cited three core principles in which he believed: "1) the divinity of human personality, 2) the improvability of human personality, 3) that Christian education is the best means yet devised for the development of human personality."

Stacy Weaver and his wife Elizabeth retired first to Lake Junaluska, NC, and later to Lakeland, Florida. Dr. Weaver died March 25, 1997, at the age of 92. Elizabeth Weaver died July 8, 2002 at the age of 95. The Weavers are buried at Lafayette Memorial Park in north Fayetteville.

 

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