Mark Weiss (2011-2015)

Mark Weiss was born in Bergen-Belsen in 1949.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology/animal science and a master’s degree in business administration, both at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Weiss had never worked in higher education prior to coming to work at Western in 2005 as the new executive vice president of finance administration. He was appointed Interim President of Western when John Minahan retired in 2011, and was asked to stay on as full-time President in 2012-15. During his tenure, he saw four new buildings erected: the Health and Wellness Center, Ackerman Hall, DeVolder Family Science Center, and the groundbreaking for the Richard Woodcock College of Education building. He increased the amount of student financial aid, academic advising and tutoring centers, and health services—particularly counseling.

Previous to joining WOU, Weiss served nine years as a senior manager and certified public accountant with the independent public accounting firm of KPMG Peat Marwick in New York City, and seventeen years with the international electronics firm Siemens in positions including Senior Vice President, administration and finance, and corporate director of Siemens Power Corporation. Weiss was actively involved in community activities in Washington State before moving to Oregon, including serving on hospital, symphony, economic development, educational, and other charitable boards of directors.

During Weiss’s tenure as president, the university saw much progress and accolades given to it. This included the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs award to the Teaching Research Institute of $10.5 million grant to operate the National Center on Deaf-Blindness. Weiss is a first generation American. His parents were the sole Holocaust survivors of their respective families and knew no English when they migrated to the United States. Their story as immigrants and survivors impacted Mark Weiss greatly—which inspired Weiss to put emphasis on helping first generation U.S. citizens and to serve students who speak English as a second language.