This archived article was written by: Caitlin Wright
From South Dakota, to Arkansas, to Price, Utah, John Weber, a professor, joins the College of Eastern Utah faculty this fall.
Weber grew up in South Dakota and started attending college, when his parents decided to pay his way through it. Although Weber was enrolled, he found things that he thought were better to do than attend class. Eventually he left school and started working in the construction field doing cement and carpentry work, until he “got tired of his back hurting.”
He decided that it was time to go back to school. The second time at school Weber paid his way through, getting scholarships and working the entire time. He tried hard to encourage his students to work hard in their schooling and try to get it done the right way their first try. It is definitely easier. Weber eventually wound up getting a double major in physics and chemistry and attended graduate school at Colorado State University, and is close to receiving his Ph.D. in chemistry.
He and his wife, Phyllis,lived in Colorado together while attending school. When he finished, Weber was interested in going into the solar energy field and start his own company but realized when he got to the end of graduate school that he didn’t have a lot of money and he didn’t know as much about solar energy as he had hoped to learn in graduate school.
Because his boss was having difficulty with funding grants, Weber started doing some teacher assistant jobs and realized how much he enjoyed it and being in the labs, so he taught labs two semesters at CSU. When the students kept coming to class not knowing what was going on and what they were supposed to be doing, Weber went to the dean of undergraduate curriculum. He inquired why this kept happening and the dean right out asked him if he wanted to teach the class. He became a lecturer the last year he was at CS, something he hadn’t planned on, but something that he ended up really enjoying.
Both he and his wifeare from South Dakota, but really enjoyed Colorado and they wanted to remain in the western U.S. Weber sent applications to different schools and applied for several interviews. After interviewing in Price, he canceled his others because he really wanted to teach and at a large university it isn’t so much teaching but having to work with research and graduate students. For him, it is really all about teaching and so coming to CEU was the prime location and position, in regards to teaching and his family.
There have been a lot of interesting people that Weber has become acquainted with and among those is Don Burge. Also, many of those on his science faculty are interesting in their own way. He is also interested in the area. In a little bit of the free time that he has had, Weber enjoyed visiting Nine-Mile Canyon and the surrounding area. At one point in his life he thought he wanted to be an archaeologist and although he didn’t end up in that career field, he still has amateur interests in it, and so this area holds great interest for him.
Weber is excited to be near the desert, and believes that it is the perfect type of weather since it isn’t blistering hot, as it is in other places such as Phoenix. He hopes to be able to get out and do some more hiking and lots of camping once his boys, Nathan and Michael,are a bit older.
Another one of Weber’s interests has always been trains. When he was younger, his family lived nearby the train tracks and he soon had the train schedule memorized. He would go out everyday when the train would pass and just sit on the corner to watch it. Now, their house is close to the train tracks and his oldest boy, who is two and a half, will go out on the deck to watch the train and listen to the horns as it goes past. It is fun for both Weber and his son,Nathan,to be able to enjoy the same thing that he enjoyed as a young boy.
Because this is Weber’s first year teaching at the college, there isn’t a lot of free time for him to do anything outside of his work. He usually works six days week, trying to make his lectures interesting. He spends time with his family in the evenings going to the park and on walksand he is looking forward to the time off during holidays and over the summer.
Just after getting married, he and his wife went to Arkansas to plant trees, using migrant work as a way “to see the world.”
They started planting trees, which would last all day, from sunrise to sundown. They then moved back to South Dakota and found how much money could be made working in the corn fields. They were paid by the acre so they started doing in by themselves 14 hours a day in July. Weber and his wife would quite literally work from sunup until sundown and when it was 100 degrees outside, that made for a pretty long day.”The days were long but after making three dollars an hour doing the job in high school, aiming for $300 a day made it seem worth it.”
Doctor Al Myers, one of Weber’s professors atCSU oncesaid,” learning is not supposed to be fun. Learning is hard work. Knowledge is fun.” The process of getting there is hard work. He also recalls something his boss used totell himoften. He would say,”if this stuff was easy, they would have monkeys do it.”