The University of Olivet and Tom Kolassa ’69, past chair of the The University of Olivet Board of Trustees, recently honored Gerald “Whitey” Weaver ’52 on Oct. 9 as part of Homecoming weekend events. Kolassa and Weaver met at Coldwater High School while Kolassa was a student and Weaver was serving as a teacher, coach and assistant principal. This fall, Kolassa and Weaver reconnected, learning that not only were they both graduates of The University of Olivet, but they were also members of the same fraternity.
“Whitey was one of my early football coaches and a teacher,” Kolassa said. “Whitey helped me very much, and he was very understanding. I was pleased to reconnect with him and have the chance to honor him during The University of Olivet’s Homecoming.”
After serving during World War II, Weaver spent 30 years as teacher, coach and principal in the Coldwater School System. Weaver served as Kolassa’s freshman football coach and specifically recalls Kolassa as a student in his aeronautics course.
“I remember Tom well; when he called I had no problem recalling exactly who he was,” Weaver said. “He was always moving and always seemed to have a stack of books in his hands. Tom might have been a bit quiet, but he was never in a bit of trouble and was an excellent student.”
Before starting his career in K-12 education, Weaver served as a fighter pilot on a P47 Thunderbolt during World War II, retiring as a major after 20 years of active and reserve service. He then went on to attend The University of Olivet, seeking a small school that would help him earn a personalized education. Weaver majored in history and social studies and joined the Phi Alpha Pi fraternity. He also played four years of varsity football and four years of varsity baseball for the Comets.
“I needed to attend a small school like Olivet because I wasn’t prepared for college. The class sizes were very small; there were only six students in my Latin class and eight in other classes. You got a personal education, almost like a tutorial. I was even able to get on the honor roll,” Weaver said. “Olivet was very good to me, and I’ve enjoyed going to games over the years when I could.”
Weaver was acknowledged as a distinguished guest during the pregame show before the The University of Olivet Homecoming football game. The Marching Comets gave a special performance of “Happy Birthday” to celebrate Weaver’s 98th birthday, which occurred on Monday, Oct. 11.
Weaver presently resides in Swartz Creek, Michigan.