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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

So long, General Weber

 
 

Lt. Gen. Joe Weber, vice president for Student Affairs, will leave the University later this month to become executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation.
Weber, Class of 1972, said Student Affairs deals with everything students do outside of the classroom to set them up for success in the classroom. Whether that means providing students with a state-of-the-art Student Recreation Center or with disability and counseling services, Weber said the estimated 80 percent of time students spend outside of the classroom is a concern for him and
his division.
“The co-curricular piece is very important to complement the academic piece and that’s what Student Affairs is all about,” Weber said. “There’s another piece to that too. Maybe it’s the old Aggie in me, but it’s the nourishment of our traditions and spirit here that make us really special. The Division of Student Affairs is very involved in that.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry recommended Weber for the position at TxDOT. Weber said with nearly 14,000 employees and a $10 billion budget per year, he soon became interested in taking on the position.
“[My friends] described to me that it was a large position and you didn’t have to have an engineering degree to apply for it – they were looking for someone with experience and leadership and it was attractive to me so I applied,” Weber said. “I thought it would be a great challenge to serve the people of the state.”
Weber works closely with student leaders, said Reid Joseph, senior industrial distribution major and student body president, which has resulted in a relationship between the two.
“Of course I was sad that he’s leaving A&M,” Joseph said. “He’s been a great leader here and he does a lot for our Aggie family. But also, I’m very excited for him. He’s moving on to a very exciting position. He’ll still be serving Aggieland, just on a bigger scale.”
Looking forward, Weber said he plans to continue the positive work he feels his predecessor started and he looks forward to getting out to meet the hard workers in every district of the state who are working on extensive highway and bridge projects.
“Perhaps the more important thing is to create an environment out there and give people the freedom to work, but make sure they have the necessary resources to do what they need to do,” Weber said.
He said an increasing Texas population will bring with it problems that need to be solved now. Weber said he doesn’t believe the answer to transportation issues is to just build more lanes on a highway, but to cause a culture shift among Texans and encourage them to use more effective means of transportations or face a possible consequence of being a state in gridlock.
“The transportation requirements will be enormous – safety, congestion, the economic impact and how we get around in the state and what we distribute throughout the state is a big challenge,” Weber said. “I also think the vision is very important. The challenge is to look out 20, 30 and 40 years and make those kinds of investments that you may not see the result of for 30 or 40 years.”
Weber said he wants his replacement at A&M to be a sort of “guardian of tradition and keeper of the spirit” that is unique to Aggieland and to cherish the diverse, special student body of Texas A&M.
“I think this is a very unique, special and different student body and there’s a reason for that – the Aggie experience, our core values, all the great things that we do,” Weber said. “So, I would hope whoever selects my replacement, that he or she will be attuned to realizing this is a special student body and discovering why it’s special and then continuing to nourish those things that make it special.”
Weber said the most rewarding part of his job was watching the progression of students over their college careers and knowing he has played a role, no matter how large or small, in getting them to where they want to be.
“I don’t think there’s any greater satisfaction than that you’ve maybe helped somebody achieve something, made their life a little better for them,” Weber said. “I know I’m not perfect at that, but I have been involved with a lot of students and watched them progress and helped them along the best I could. That’s the greatest satisfaction there is.”
Kyle Kelly, junior industrial distribution major and student body president-elect, said he’d like to wish Weber the best in his future endeavors and to say thank you for all he has done and will do for a vast number of people.
“He’s served our country, he’s served our University and we’re so appreciative of his and Mrs. Weber’s time here,” Kelly said. “I’m thankful for his servant leadership. In so many ways, he’s been available. He’s a good ol’ boy. He’s down to earth and straight forward and has a good motive to better this campus and students. I’m excited about where A&M is headed, even amid changes in leadership.”
Weber’s farewell to A&M is simple – he said he wants everyone on the campus to work together and never lose sight of what being an Aggie is all about.
“If everybody that works together on this campus – students, faculty, staff, administrators – all pull together in the same direction, the potential of this University is just unlimited,” Weber said. “Then, secondly, I’d like to tell everybody to please treasure the Spirit of Aggieland. Treasure that and those traditions, and the spirit that makes us so great and binds us together and makes the Aggie Ring on your finger worth something and not just another ring. Because if you don’t treasure those and you don’t nourish them, you’re going to lose them – and we don’t ever want that to happen here.”

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