Longtime Penn State leader Peter Weiler remembered by University

July 08, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Former Vice President for Development Peter B. Weiler, a longtime leader of the Penn State's fundraising and alumni relations team, died on Wednesday, July 3, following complications from a 2016 cycling accident that left him a quadriplegic. He was 64, and he is survived by his wife, Karen, and their three children, who are all Penn State graduates: Jamie (2007), Griffin (2014) and Mac (2014).

Peter Weiler, Former Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations at Penn State.

IMAGE: Penn State

Weiler’s service to Penn State began in 1989, when he left his position as director of alumni relations at the University of Vermont to become executive director of the Penn State Alumni Association, the world's largest dues-paying alumni organization. In 1996, he became the University's associate vice president for development and alumni relations, and he helped to lead Penn State in a period of unprecedented growth and success in fundraising. Weiler played a key role in guiding Penn State volunteers, staff and academic leadership through the ‘Grand Destiny’ campaign, which concluded in 2003 having secured nearly $1.4 billion in total commitments.

In 2006, Weiler was promoted to the post of vice president for development and was prominent in leading Penn State to what was then its most successful fundraising year in 2006-07, when the University received $284.7 million in commitments from private donors.

"During Peter’s time at Penn State, his leadership and expertise, combined with his boundless energy and enthusiasm for our mission, helped our alumni relations and development programs grow into one of the nation’s finest," said University President Eric J. Barron. "Peter was passionate about his work, and he will be missed by all of us who share his passion for making Penn State the best it can be."

Weiler graduated from the University of Vermont with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1977 and a master’s degree in higher education administration in 1979. His career spanned multiple well-respected institutions in addition to Penn State, including UCLA, the University of Vermont, the University of New Hampshire, Ohio State University and the University of Maryland. While at Penn State, Peter was named an honorary alumnus in 1995, and he received the Kevin A. Steinberg Memorial Award, honoring a supporter of the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON).

Rodney P. Kirsch, senior vice president emeritus for development and alumni relations, worked closely with Weiler from 1996 until Weiler’s departure from Penn State in 2008. “I speak for many in saying that Peter was a fantastic colleague and friend,” said Kirsch. “His optimistic spirit, zany wit and humor, and unabashed love for Penn State touched the hearts of countless Penn Staters. Peter leaves many significant legacies, but certainly one of the most enduring and profound will be his instrumental role in building Penn State’s national reputation in university advancement.” 

While Weiler had a successful and fulfilling professional career, he was equally known for his post-collegiate athletic achievements. He competed in the prestigious and grueling Hawaii Ironman five times, finishing in the Top 100 in 1986, a personal record and professional level achievement. In May 2016, at the age of 61, Weiler completed his first and last ultramarathon, running 55 miles through the hills of his home state of Vermont with his family in tow.

A memorial service was held on July 12, at St. Andrew’s-by-the-Sea, 30 Church Road, Rye, New Hampshire. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to the Peter Weiler Family Endowment in Advancement and Philanthropy at Penn State, which was created recently by donors who worked with Weiler during his time here, to honor and continue his legacy at Penn State. Gifts can be sent to the Pennsylvania State University, 116 Old Main, University Park, PA 16802.

Last Updated July 30, 2019