Longtime Georgetown Resident Receives Southwestern’s 2011 College Town Award
Longtime Georgetown resident Esther Weir was selected to receive Southwestern University’s sixth annual Martha Diaz Hurtado College Town Award.
The award was created in 2006 to recognize citizens, organizations or businesses whose exemplary efforts have enhanced the “college town” environment for students, faculty and staff at Southwestern. Previous recipients of the award include the Williamson County Sun, the Downtown Georgetown Association, former mayor Gary Nelon and Chamber of Commerce President Mel Pendland, Dr. Doug Benold and Ellsworth Peterson.
Weir received the award Jan. 28 during the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce annual banquet.
Weir moved to Georgetown in 1938 to teach at Southwestern. She taught courses in physical education, education, mathematics and dance on and off for 17 years.
Weir and her late husband, A.C. “Doc” Weir, were well known for hosting students and alumni on their 500-acre ranch west of Georgetown. The ranch became a “home away from home” for generations of Southwestern students.
After leaving Southwestern, Weir taught girls’ athletics at Georgetown High School and served as a guidance counselor and supervisor of special education in the Williamson County schools.
Throughout her career, Weir has been extremely involved with the Georgetown community. She taught square dancing, folk dancing, water ballet and swimming to local residents, and served on community athletic committees.
As a member of the Georgetown Heritage Society, the Downtown Merchants Association (now the Downtown Georgetown Association) and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, Weir worked to revitalize downtown business and preserve and restore historic buildings. One of the cornerstone buildings on the Georgetown Square – The Makemson-Steele-Weir Building – bears her family’s name.
Weir is credited with founding Georgetown’s popular Christmas Stroll event as well as an event called May Fair that was the precursor to the current Red Poppy Festival. She also organized a Block Party to introduce Southwestern students to downtown.
When the State of Texas encouraged local communities to find ways to celebrate the Texas Sesquicentennial in 1986, Weir volunteered to chair the Georgetown Sesquicentennial Folklore Committee and spearheaded a project to produce a four-volume history of Georgetown that was written by Southwestern History Professor Martha Allen.
Weir has previously received several awards from organizations in Georgetown, including the Georgetown Area Community Foundation’s annual Lifetime Achievement Award, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year Award and the Georgetown Sertoma Club’s Service to Man Award. Southwestern gave Weir an Honorary Alumni award in 1990 and Former Mayor Leo Wood gave Weir a key to the city in 1994.
“I know of no one who is more deserving of the Martha Diaz Hurtado College Town Award than Esther Weir,” said Southwestern President Jake B. Schrum. “She has had an extraordinary impact on Southwestern as well as so many worthwhile ventures in Georgetown. We are delighted that her commitment to all of us will be honored in his way.”