I am passing along the sad news that I received from my institution (NJCU) about the passing of Jerry Weiss. Many of you knew Jerry well and know how giving he was with his knowledge, time, and passion to the NJCTE community.
-Audrey Fisch, President, NJCTE
Dear Members of the NJCU Community,
We are saddened to advise of the passing of Dr. M. Jerry Weiss, Distinguished Service Professor of Communications Emeritus, who throughout his life made a profound influence on literacy here in New Jersey and the United States. Dr. Weiss passed away on March 12 — one month shy of his 95th birthday.
Dr. Weiss was a nationally recognized expert in the field of children’s and adolescent literature and a pioneer in the area of Whole Language. He taught at NJCU for 33 years before retiring in 1994. For many years Dr. Weiss coordinated the “Adolescent in Literature” series, a highly-regarded program he established. This series featured guest speakers composed of distinguished authors of novels for young adult and adolescent readers.
On October 5, 2006, NJCU dedicated the M. Jerry Weiss Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature in his honor. This is now the Northeast’s premier review center and offers a unique literature collection that encourages the exploration of children’s and young adult literature and illustrations.
Dr. Weiss completed his undergraduate work at the University of North Carolina and earned his Master of Arts and Doctor of Education degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University. He taught English, language arts, and reading in secondary schools and colleges in Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and New Jersey.
He held numerous state and national professional offices including serving as president of the New Jersey Reading Association. He also held leadership positions in the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association.
The New Jersey Reading Association presents an annual “M. Jerry Weiss Book Award,” affectionately known as “The Jerry.” Established in his honor in 1993, the distinction is given to a children’s, juvenile, or young-adult author selected by students throughout the state of New Jersey.
A long-time donor to the institution, Dr. Weiss’ gifts to the university have enriched the lives of countless students at NJCU and in the larger community.
A funeral service for Dr. Weiss was held on Monday. The family will hold a final Shiva virtual memorial tonight — Wednesday, March 17 — from 7-8:15 p.m. via Zoom.
Information on ways to donate to the M. Jerry Weiss Center in his memory will be shared at a later date. Join the Shiva service for Dr. M. Jerry Weiss.
Meeting ID: 979 1337 7316
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