A couple makes a meaningful gift by supporting math scholarships

Maury and Gale Hempstead Weir
Maurice “Maury” Weir ’61 and Gale Hempstead Weir ’61 at Montmarte in Paris, France.

Maurice “Maury” and Gale Hempstead Weir both graduated from Whitman in 1961, Maury with a degree in mathematics and Gale with a degree in English. Both were appreciative recipients of scholarships, making it possible for them to attend Whitman. After three decades of making mostly unrestricted gifts to Whitman as loyal supporters, the Weirs decided the timing was right to give back to the college with a legacy gift. In recognition of the scholarship aid they received as students, they established the Maurice and Gale Weir Mathematics Scholarship Endowment to support students who major in math or who have combined majors including math.

At Whitman, Maury joined Sigma Chi, was a member of the Knights Honorary Society and was active in theatre. He then went on to earn a master’s degree and Ph.D. in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University. During his post-graduate studies, Whitman invited Maury to be a math instructor at the college, which began his career in teaching. After completing his doctorate, he served as professor of mathematics and associate provost for instruction at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., where he earned awards for excellence in teaching and civilian service throughout his career.

Gale studied English at Whitman and was a member of Alpha Phi, as well as numerous honorary societies, including Arrows and Mortar Board. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated cum laude, going on to attend Columbia University on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and to teach high school English. Later, Gale switched to a career in educational publishing with CTB/McGraw-Hill, where she worked with educators across the United States to develop assessments in English Language Arts and pioneered the field of performance assessment.

Maury and Gale were inspired by the broad goals and challenges of Whitman’s campaign initiatives. They said they discussed this with each other and decided that “Now Is the Time” to support “this remarkable college that so transformed and deepened our lives.”

Maury said, “I wanted to make possible to future Whitman students what the college had given to me – one of the best liberal arts educations available in America. My success as a professor and textbook author in the field of mathematics created a perfect fit to endow this scholarship. I jumped on the opportunity.”

Gale said, “At Whitman, my eyes were opened to experiences and possibilities that had never seemed available to a young woman in my circumstances. Those four years made possible the 50-plus years since: experiences, learning, opportunities, travel and friendships – the totality of a fortunate life. Without the scholarship money I received, those four years would have been impossible. I want to make those four years possible for other needy and worthy students by providing scholarship dollars to them.”