The University community is mourning the loss of Marta Weeks, the first woman to chair the University of Miami Board of Trustees and longtime donor to the university. Her legacy is tied to her generosity, philanthropy and passion for higher education.
On Friday, Sept. 1, Weeks passed away at the age of 93.
Anyone wandering around the Frost School of Music is bound to pass by the remarkable building that reads “Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library and Technology Center.”
Along with her late husband, Austin Weeks, she helped forge the path for both the creation of the music library and the latest addition to our campus, the Knight Center for Music Innovation.
The library is home to thousands of music repertoire and literature, coupled with quaint study spaces and a stunning view of Lake Osceola. It sits adjacent to the L. Austin Weeks Recording Studio, headquarters for Frost’s Music Engineering program.
“Having the Music Library facility embedded within the Frost School allows library staff to routinely engage with faculty and students, allowing the library to align collections and services in a holistic way,” Sara J. Buetter Manus, director of Weeks Music Library, said. “We are positioned to support students as the curriculum evolves to meet the rapidly changing profile of the 21st century musician. Marta’s generous contributions to Frost will continue to pay dividends into the future.”
These spaces have revolutionized the learning experience for students at Frost, and continue to be vessels for music-making and academic excellence.
“Marta’s generous contributions built facilities to enable students to be on the cutting edge of performance, recording and research.” dean of the Frost School of Music Shelly Berg said. “The Frost School is known for innovation in curricula, and Marta’s gifts empowered what we teach.”
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1930, Marta has made an indelible mark both at home and abroad. She spent her youth in Utah, both for her childhood education in Holladay, Utah and to attend high school at St. Mary-of-the-Wasatch Academy in Salt Lake City. She briefly studied in Maracaibo, Venezuela at the Bella Vista school prior to high school.
Marta attended Stanford University, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in political science in 1951. During her summers in college, she would spend time in Venezuela teaching English to locals at the Centro-Venezolano Americano center, as well as taking on roles in family businesses, such as Weeks Petroleum, Ltd. and the Weeks Air Museum.
Marta’s impact has reached virtually every program at our university. The daughter of a school teacher and a geologist, she valued education and understood how it can change lives.
This passion turned into the creation of countless scholarships provided to UM students, with two dedicated to incoming Frost students and another gifted to select incoming freshmen.
“Marta’s donations helped to create my life’s dream of attending the University of Miami,” senior music education major Janie Lobel said. “I worked tirelessly to earn my place here, and with her generosity my dream became a reality. The experiences and opportunities I’ve had have been overwhelmingly fulfilling and honorable.”
Prior to the pandemic, she would meet one-on-one with the students who were recipients of the scholarships she funded. The Weeks Scholarship, open to high school seniors, is one of the premier scholarships for incoming students. Recipients receive full-tuition coverage for their four years at the U.
“Her contributions will benefit me for a lifetime. I hope to one day lead my own classroom and give the gift of music to my future students,” Lobel said. “I have been able to study Music Education and serve as President for the University of Miami NAfME Collegiate chapter, which would not be possible without her generous donations.”
Her philanthropy at the Frost School led to the advancement of several projects that have allowed students to access and engage in state-of-the-art equipment and resources.
“Marta funded recording and technology rooms that helped us be an exemplar to other music schools. Her generous scholarship endowments enable some of the most talented students in the world to attend Frost.” Berg said.
However, Marta’s legacy in the UM community extends far beyond her financial support. She was the first woman to chair the University’s board of trustees from 2007 to 2009, and was actively involved in numerous board committees since joining in 1983.
“Marta’s intellectual curiosity, leadership, and generosity of spirit made her a force for good.” President Julio Frenk said in his message to the UM community.
Beyond the Frost School, her positive impact has reached across campuses, from the College of Arts and Sciences, to the Miami Herbert Business School, to the Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric and Earth Science, where she gifted an advanced research facility.
Marta also expanded opportunities for leadership, including the Weeks Endowed Chair for Latin American Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Outside of her involvement at the university, she also pursued her passion for serving her religious community. She stepped down from active university positions in 1990 to graduate from the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Austin, TX and was ordained as a priest. Marta became the sixth female priest in the Episocal Diocese of South Florida.
Marta later remarried to Karleton Wulf in 2008. He passed in 2020. She is survived by two children, Kermit Weeks and UM alumna Leslie Davies, and three grandchildren.
“Our hearts go out to all of Marta’s loved ones.” Frenk said. “Please join me in wishing them comfort and peace at this most difficult time, as we remember Marta’s many contributions to the University and community.”