Professor David Weber is a 2018 recipient of the St. Ignatius Award. The Rev. Greg Carlson, SJ, associate professor of English and theology, and associate director of the Deglman Center for Spirituality, presented the award to Weber during the Founders Week Convocation Awards Ceremony and Presidential Address on the afternoon of Feb. 6 at the Hixson-Lied Auditorium in the Mike and Josie Harper Center.
The following is a transcript of Carlson’s speech.
Socrates proposed that what was essential was invisible. That which is essential here at the mission of Creighton University is the spirit of life, dedication and humble service made visible in the lives of so many of Creighton’s staff and faculty.
The Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality presents gratefully two highly spirited and joyfully visible persons who live in our presence, the spirit of Ignatius Loyola.
Our first recipient of the St. Ignatius Award is Professor David Weber. [Editor’s note: The other recipient was Colleen Hendrick, special events program manager at the Heider College of Business.]
As he makes his way to the stage, let’s welcome his guests and ask them to stand.
You have perhaps heard jokes about lawyers. Professor David Weber of Creighton’s law school is definitely no joke. His trials are his attempts in conveying the spirit of compassionate justice to his students. Having a vision or spirit without action is illusion. This man of deep feeling teaches and lives.
Dave has accompanied six different groups of law school students for a 10-day immersion-adventure into the legal system and cultural ways of the Dominican Republic and guides them in their return reflection processings.
One of his colleagues writes, “As professor in the School of Law, David goes beyond the standard litany of teaching the roles and practices of thinking like a lawyer. He challenges our students to consider how ostensibly neutral roles impact the marginalized and powerless.”
Another writes, “Because of David’s orientation for justice for the poor, he has been attracted to research and teaching in immigration law which dramatically affects the legally powerless. He is never content only to point out the structural injustices of a broken immigration system. David has volunteered to counsel persons desperately needing help in navigating a complex legal system.
David Weber is a team player. He filled in as associate dean of academic affairs on short notice, because of an emergency. A spirit of discretion, judgment and personal kindness characterizes David as a person whose faith necessarily involves laboring for justice. He is formed by his experiencing of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. This spirit of availability has freed him to be a member of the law school’s Partners in Mission Committee and he has been the school’s representative on the similar committee of the University. Recently, he served as co-chair of the Presidential Committee on Sexual Misconduct, whose mission is the protection of our students, faculty and staff. He continues now on the Committee on the Status of Women.
“Magis” is the Ignatian word for “more.” For David, one big “more” is the creative work he has been doing for the establishment of the law school’s Immigrant and Refugee Clinic, in partnership with the [editor’s note: Immigrant Legal Center, formerly known as Justice for Our Neighbors.] The clinic will be a lasting legacy for our students and our neighbors as it reflects Creighton’s mission of compassionate service.
There is plenty more to David’s reaching out beyond our campus boundaries. His quiet demeanor has been speaking volumes beyond books and papers. He is not a laughing matter, but a smiling servant to so many others. It is with great joy that the Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality recognizes with this year’s St. Ignatius Award, Professor David Weber, a gentle man for others.