In Memoriam — Barbara A. Weightman
Nov. 2, 2012
Barbara A. Weightman
Barbara A. Weightman, emeritus professor of geography, died Sept. 27 at her Palm Springs home. She was 73.
“Barbara taught cultural geography at CSUF for 37 years, exciting students with her lively presentations of cultural geographies from around the world and unique ways of analyzing ‘the meanings of everyday landscapes.’ She traveled to more than 100 countries and amassed a slide collection of more than 25,000 images, which she enthusiastically shared with her classes,” said Robert A. (Ray) Young, emeritus associate vice president for academic affairs and professor of geography.
“She instilled a confidence in students to continue both as professional geographers and interpreters of the complex worlds, locally and internationally,” added Young, fondly recalling his colleague and friend. “Over time, three of her graduate students received the Giles Brown Outstanding Thesis award for works she supervised. Her warm personality and enthusiasm for learning helped to promote the Geography Learning Center into a vibrant center for student/faculty interaction. Barbara was the consummate interpreter of cultural landscapes, abroad and right here in Southern California. She could really get out there and unravel some mysteries, and really engage students. She was a treasure, an inspiration. I just felt privileged to have known Barbara and to have been inspired by her.”
Weightman had a bachelor's degree in secondary education in history and geography from the University of British Columbia and a master's and doctorate in geography from the University of Washington. She wrote “Geography of Asia: A Geography of South, East and Southeast Asia” as well as numerous articles on population, landscape interpretation, urbanization, and other themes in human geography. Her regional research specialty on Asia led to her textbook, “Dragons and Tigers: A Geography of South, East and Southeast Asia,” presently in its third edition.
Weightman joined Cal State Fullerton’s faculty in 1972, was granted emeritus status in 2003 and retired in 2008. She was chair of the Geography Department from 1977 to 1981.
“I became a geography major because of her,” said John C. Carroll, chair and associate professor of geography who earned a bachelor's degree in geography from CSUF in 1987. “She taught my first geography class — ‘World Geography.’ She was a tremendous pillar of our department for almost four decades and she is missed.”
Robert A. Voeks, professor of geography, called Weightman the “soul of the Geography Department.”
“Barbara survived the ‘bad times’ with humor and grit, and still managed to share her amazing teaching gift with generations of students,” Voeks said. “She inspired so many students to do so much more than they thought themselves possible. And, I think of how many times we were beginning the search for a new geography professor, and somewhere in the discussion, one or more of us would say, ‘what we really need is another Barbara Weightman.’ We were very lucky to have the original.”
Originally from Canada, Weightman held dual citizenship with the U.S. She is survived by her partner of 30 years, Claudia Lowe. Expressions of condolences may be sent to Lowe at 3793 Date Palm Trail, Palm Springs, 92262.
A memorial service will be held at the Golleher Alumni House on campus Sunday, Dec. 2, at 2 p.m. And, a special memorial scholarship fund is being set up in Weightman’s name. For more information regarding the scholarship, contact Alina Mircea-Trotz at 657-278-2559 or Young at 657-278-2628.
Mimi Ko Cruz, 657-278-7586