Who was Weldon Cooper?
Weldon Cooper, a native of Kirbyville, Texas, joined the University of Virginia faculty in 1947 as the associate director of the Institute of Government. Mr. Cooper was named director of the Institute in 1956 and served in that capacity for 17 years. During his tenure, Mr. Cooper helped guide numerous state commissions, including the Governor's Commission on Legislative Redistricting in 1961 and the Virginia Metropolitan Areas Study Commission in 1966. He helped draft or revise numerous municipal charters and regularly assisted legislators and government officials on questions of public administration. In 1955, as a special consultant, he helped the Alaska Constitutional Convention draft a charter for the 49th state. He wrote several books and two-dozen articles on Virginia.
Mr. Cooper was secretary to the Board of Visitors and an adviser to university Presidents Colgate Darden, Edgar F. Shannon Jr. and Frank Hereford Jr. He also was executive assistant to Gov. John S. Battle in 1950 and 1951. Mr. Cooper retired from the University of Virginia in 1973.
In 1988, the Institute of Government became the Center for Public Service. In 1994, the Board of Visitors renamed the Center for Public Service, the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, honoring Mr. Cooper's service to the Commonwealth and the University of Virginia.
"Weldon Cooper was dedicated to the state of Virginia as an effective public servant and to the University of Virginia as a scholar and thoughtful leader," said former UVA President John T. Casteen III. "He set out to make Virginia better and he succeeded. For that he will be remembered."
Mr. Cooper died in 1996 at age 89.